Architecture around the IJ

Jeroen Apers, Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Most people visiting our capital go straight from Central Station to Dam square, the canals or Museumplein. That’s a pity because if you take the rear exit of the station, you'll be rewarded with a great view over the IJ, the water that separates the city centre from the north of Amsterdam. On its banks many architectural eye-catchers have appeared over the last few years.

It’s hard to miss the new EYE Film Museum designed by Austrian designers Delugan & Meissl. With its slanted walls, this high-profile building on the north bank was designed to look like a giant oyster. A largely closed building – for watching films in, it boasts a real gem in the reception hall: a phenomenal view of the city's waterfront and passing ships. It has become the place to be for a romantic sunset dinner, especially because the restaurant is equally as impressive as the view.

From the station, another ferry takes you to the NDSM area. This former shipyard became obsolete in the eighties and was taken over by artists and creative companies. The enormous building boasts a large steel structure, now home to various creative entrepreneurs. The shipyard’s grounds host a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year, like the 'Over het IJ’ theatre festival and fancy dress festival.

If you cross the IJ once more, you’ll end up at the Houthavens where the so called REM island is located. For years, this former sea platform stood in the middle of the Northsea and made history by serving as a pirate radio station. Ever since the platform has been anchored, the DJs made way for a well-trained kitchen brigade. The view of the city is phenomenal, provided you don’t have a fear of heights.

My journey ends on the eastern side of Central Station where, on the inner Oosterdok harbour, the new Amsterdam Public Library was built. No dull reading rooms with long rows of books but a high-tech, multimedia centre where you can browse an endless array of books, magazines, films and music. And if you’re not a book worm but simply like modern architecture, don’t forget to take the escalator up as the building is full of surprising vistas. Conclude your journey with a visit to the buffet restaurant on the top floor. It offers a wonderful panorama of the city’s old architecture. Enjoy!