Amsterdam Region: New West (Nieuw-West)
Easily accessible by public transport from the centre of Amsterdam, a visit there would appeal to visitors who would like a day-trip out of the city centre. It’s possible to enjoy a wide variety of activities in Amsterdam New West from sightseeing to water sports.
The tranquillity of Lake Sloterpas and Sloterpark
Located at the end of Jan Evertsenstraat, the large picturesque urban lake Sloterpas is surrounded by parkland. Apart from water sports and water-based activities such as fishing and swimming, many visitors enjoy cycling and jogging in the park. For more active visitors, the popular Sloterplasloop is a series of running events including a 5-and 10-km run and a 1.5-kilometre children’s run. Held every October, this route meanders around the park and is centred around the lake.
The park is also a haven for wildlife such as grebes and herons so it is the ideal place for nature lovers to take a walk or a boat trip on the lake. Other visitors take advantage of the tranquillity of being away from the hustle and bustle of the city to have a picnic.
Sloterpark is also well-known for its programme of cultural activities including regular summer movie nights in an outdoor cinema. The Mystic Garden Festival, held in midsummer, presents performances by both musicians and DJs. The annual Loveland Dance Festival showcases international and upcoming dance talents performing on 6 outdoor stages and is held every August.
Historical Amsterdam New West
For those interested in history, Sloten gives an idea of what life would have been like in the past before this former village became a part of Amsterdam in 1921. First documented in the 11th century, the remnants of its surviving village square are surrounded by traditionally-constructed Dutch houses. It also boasts a water pump and fire alarm dating back to the 1920s while nearby is the oldest surviving house (1692).
To fully appreciate what the Dutch landscape would have looked like in 1630, you should visit the Sloten Windmill Museum and admire its display entitled ‘Amsterdam and the Water’.
This museum is located in a fully-functional poldermill and is the only one in the Netherlands which is open to the general public. Volunteers give visitors a guided tour and explain how windmills work such as how the vanes rotate and how they can be stopped.
As the son of a miller, the famous artist Rembrandt would have understood the inner workings of a windmill. In recognition of this fact, the museum contains an audio-visual presentation explaining what his early years would have been like.
Westerpark – An area of contrasts
Apart from the activities which can be enjoyed in the natural setting of the park itself, the surrounding neighbourhood is an eclectic mixture of independent shops, open-air markets, brown cafes and restaurants.
The area of Westerpark, which used to be predominantly an office/business park, is undergoing a complete transformation.
The redbrick former gasworks, Westergasfabriek, dating from 1883, have been converted into a multipurpose cultural and leisure hub. Visitors can frequent a variety of bars, restaurants or go to the cinema to take in a film.
For the more culturally-minded, the complex contains galleries which put on temporary displays. There are also events and happenings throughout the year. These include the musical festival, Milkshake and the Rollende Keukens (Rolling Kitchens) culinary fair.
Visitors to Amsterdam should check the calendar to see what is on during their stay. The Westergas Sunday Market is held on the first Sunday of every month. Not only are there vendors and stalls selling a variety of street food but there is live music too, creating a lively and vibrant atmosphere. It is also a great place to pick up unique souvenirs and/or gifts.
If you’re interested in beer, this is the neighbourhood to visit. Two of the most popular Dutch breweries (Troost and De Prael) have opened up outlets in this area. It is possible to take a guided beer tour and sample their wares including a variety of craft beers.
Amsterdam Nieuw-West has something for everyone – from cultural to sporting events. No matter the age and interests of visitors, they will be sure to find something to do there.