Amsterdam Area Guide
Learn about Amsterdam's neighbourhoods
Published on : 26-08-2013, 15:02 by Fred Tromp
New to Amsterdam and wondering where to live? There are a multitude of neighbourhoods to consider, each with its own charm and atmosphere, local highlights and hotspots.
The majority of expats looking for a 'typically Dutch' experience tend to end up in the canal rings encircling the old city centre, the Jordaan, the Old South or the Pijp. Although these areas are traditionally more affluent, a mixture of historical facts and social policies ensure diversity and different housing options throughout the city.
Map of districts in Amsterdam
City centre / canal belt
Expat housing in old-style grandeur
Despite the high prices, this is the place to live if you are looking for a (second) place in Amsterdam. Canals, breathtaking architecture and lovely hidden gardens create an ideal environment. The buildings here retain their old-style grandeur, and numerous cafes, restaurants and boutiques line the streets.
It can be difficult to find an entire house here and, as expected, apartment prices in this part of the city centre reflect the neighbourhood's desirability. Houseboats may offer a somewhat cheaper alternative for accommodation - and provide a unique living experience. Parking is limited: expats may have to wait for years to acquire a parking permit and the only alternative is expensive parking garages.
Expat rentals in the trendy former artisan quarter
The old working-class neighbourhood of Amsterdam consists of small canals and streets running perpendicular to the Prinsengracht. This is one of the cosiest neighbourhoods to live in and hosts numerous restaurants, cafes and well-known markets (Saturday and Monday). Parking in the Jordaan is also limited and expensive.
Upscale expat housing
This posh neighbourhood is one of the most popular expat centres. It is close to the city centre and offers well preserved, privately owned, spacious (for Dutch standards) houses. The Vondelpark and a myriad of upscale restaurants, luxury shops and cafes offer the best of urban living with a suburban feel. Duivelseiland is one of the more desirable areas here, with lots of market shops, restaurants and apartments. Parking is less congested than in the centre and the waiting time for parking permits can be shorter. Old South apartments.
Expat apartments in a vibrant, funky neighbourhood
The so-called Latin Quarter of Amsterdam is a lively, multicultural district with long, narrow, parallel streets. The area has benefited enormously from city regeneration efforts, and government initiatives have increased opportunities for private home ownership here to the benefit of many expats. The area is filled with eclectic shops, restaurants and one of the city's largest open-air markets (the Albert Cuyp market). Rising prices reflect the Pijp's new status as a desirable neighbourhood to live in.
Rental apartments and houses on the park
Recent regeneration efforts have transformed Westerpark, with its enormous park, trendy cafes, and old (industrial) buildings, into a trendy place to live. Several new housing projects on former industrial sites fill the gap for affordable three or four bedroom apartments. Westerpark borders the Jordaan and provides easy access to the Amsterdam ring road and highways.
Amsterdam School expat housing
The Spaarndammer neighbourhood was built at the end of the 19th century to house the influx of labourers working in the harbours nearby. The buildings showcase the striking Amsterdam School architectural style, and close proximity to the beautiful Westerpark make this a pleasant place to live. The busy Spaarndammerstraat running through the neighbourhood offers lots of cafes, shops and restaurants.
Modern, new rental apartments
Expats looking for something modern and slightly further afield may consider IJburg, a new residential development under construction in the east of Amsterdam. Six different man-made islands are being reclaimed to ultimately make way for 18,000 new homes. The first island was completed in 2010 and the neighbourhood is starting to come to life. Houses range from affordable to pricey to accommodate a diverse set of residents. Find here an apartment in IJburg.
Expat housing in central, new development
The Eastern Docklands consists of several man-made islands interconnected by bridges. This historic Dutch shipping location is one of the biggest post-war building projects in Amsterdam along the IJ river, with approximately 8,500 new homes. The area now offers comfortable houses in an up-market neighbourhood close to the ring and city centre.
Living in the garden of Amsterdam
At the end of the 17th century, the Plantage was where middle-class Amsterdammers could purchase gardens and build garden houses. Today's neighbourhood remains true to its heritage: Plantage is a quiet, leafy area that is home to the city's botantical gardens and zoo. Expats have discovered the spacious, grand buildings and the relative peace on offer that make this a desirable place to live.
Affordable expat rentals
Bos en Lommer is an up-and-coming neighbourhood close to the Westerpark with easy access to the ring road. Many of the buildings here are four-story apartment blocks and it is possible to find reasonable rental prices. The neighbourhood is scheduled for wide-scale urban renewal, which will likely push housing prices up.
Expat housing near the International School Amsterdam
Expats looking for a less urban environment may also consider relocating to Amstelveen, the famous Amsterdam suburb located close to the city’s largest park (Amsterdam Woods) and Schiphol airport. A green area with lots of restaurants, cafes, international companies - including the International School of Amsterdam - and a wide range of available housing options.
Ouderkerk a/d Amstel
Suburban rental apartments and housing
Oudekerk aan de Amstel is a small village about 10 kilometres south of Amsterdam situated on the banks of the Amstel. The charming old centre has lots of restaurants and shops, and expats can find more space and 'green' here than in Amsterdam.
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