My favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam is “De Pijp,” which translates to “The Pipe.” For the eternally inquisitive, many will try to second-guess what “The Pipe” stands for. The truth is, no one really knows. Perhaps it owes its name to the long narrow streets that resemble pipes or to the infamous gas company that shares it’s name and that used to supply gas to the neighborhood. Whoever or whatever is responsible for the name should be proud of the association.
Formerly a working class quarter built to ease the overpopulated Jordaan in the 19 th century and to house labourers, de Pijp as we Amsterdammers know it today is without doubt a melting pot of cultures and nationalities.
Thanks to previous settlers such as Heijermans, De Haan, Bordewijk, Mondriaan and scores of students in search of a cheap room to rent, de Pijp continues to breathe life as the lively bohemian district known as the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) of Amsterdam.
The young, the old, students, artists, and families have all chosen to make De Pijp their home. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of central Amsterdam, this homely alternative is appealing. Today, De Pijp is so popular that house prices are amongst the highest in Amsterdam.
De Pijp is one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant districts of Amsterdam. Like the district Jordaan, de Pijp is brimming with fantastic cafés, restaurants, coffee shops and bars. Of course, a visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the Albert Cuypmarket, flanked by over 100 shops.
If you wander down Albert Cuypstraat and Ferdinand Bolstraat, the main streets in De Pijp, you’ll find many exotic and authentic Syrian, Moroccan and Surinamese restaurants, to name but a few. A typical Amsterdam pub is located on almost every corner. Also in abundance are the Islamic butchers, Surinamese, Spanish, Indian and Turkish delicatessens and grocery stores. Try one of these restaurants or bars for size and if you found one that hit the right spot, don’t forget to recommend it to me
Eating and Drinking
Within a 10 minute stroll you’ll find hundreds of bars, cafe’s and restaurants. There are to many to name. My favorite thing to do (specially in the summer months when the sun is out late) is to walk around, grab a drink or two on one of the many terraces, watch the people walk by and grab a bite to eat afterwards.
Here are some places you don’t want to miss in De Pijp. Around the “Gerard Douplein,” a little square in the heart of De Pijp, there are a bunch of nice bars and restaurants. My favorite hangout is the Pilsvogel, located on the corner of the square. It features a great outdoor seating area and it’s proximity to the Albert Cuyp Market guarantees a healthy stream of by-passers, making it a great people watching spot.
You have to try their signature dish: The chicken Saté. It’s known in Amsterdam as the best Saté in town. It’s not a small appetizer like in most Asian restaurants. The dish consists of big chucks of juicy chicken filet on a skewer, topped with a very unique peanut sauce and fries on the side.
A few steps away you’ll find a restaurant called The French Cafe. This is one of the better restaurants in the area, featuring authentic French cuisine.
If you’re a wine lover, check out the wine bar on the other side of the square. If your stay is during the summer months, don’t forget to get an ice cream at “Ijscuypje,” just across from the Pilsvogel. In the winter months it changes to “Stamppotje,” a very traditional Dutch dish made of vegetables and potatoes. It comes with a juicy sausage on top.
From the Gerard Douplein head South and cross the Albert Cuyp Market. Here you’ll find a small pedestrian street that hosts a number of cool bars and cafés. I recommend the Chocolate Bar for sandwiches and drinks. If you like fries, there is a Falafal place (Maoz) that serves some of the best fries in Amsterdam, off course served with a healthy dose of mayonaise.
On the western part of the Albert Cuypstraat (past the intersection with the Ferdinand Bolstraat) you’ll find a few more exotic restaurants. Most are Turkish, Indonesian or Suriname. For burger fans the Burgermeester is a must. This contemporary burger joint easily serves the best burgers in town. Just across the street is an awesome bakery Bakken met Passie. I always make sure I don’t have more then 20 euros on me when I walk in or I’d buy myself a month worth of pastries, cookies, buns, croissants and tarts.
A few blocks from the house is the “Marie Heinekenplein.” It’s around the corner from the Heineken Factory. There are a few nice bars around here, a Spanish tapas place called Barça and a Latin dance bar.
What’s great about the Marie Heineken Plein is the abundance of outside seating options. As an added bonus, there are few buildings blocking the sun. It’s a local secret that you’ll be able to catch the last rays of late-afternoon sun here.
Across the square you’ll find a very kitsch pie place called Taart van m’n Tante. As you munch on a delicious piece of applepie, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in your grandmothers living room.
Other places on the square worth mentioning are the Irish Pub and the quiet café “The Kingfisher.” Turn left on the Ferdinand Bolstraat and you’ll find two good restaurants: “Ondeugd” and “Simpel.”
Attractions in De Pijp
The Albert Cuypmarkt is arguably the best-known and busiest outdoor market in Europe. It attracts thousands of visitors every day, and is especially popular on Saturdays. There are over 300 stalls and goods range from fresh produce to clothes and household goods. Prices are among the lowest in Amsterdam. If you like middle eastern food, check out the Bazar, a very spacey lunch café and diner. It’s located halfway down the market in an old building and features stunning decorations.
The Sarphati Park is named after the Jewish doctor and philanthropist Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866), whose marvelous 19th century monument dominates the park. This small (it stretches for only two blocks) rectangle of green in the middle of trendy De Pijp area is one of the nicest in Amsterdam.
There is something secretive about the taste of the world’s best beers and certainly Heineken pilsner belongs to this group. The brewery was established in Amsterdam in 1864 and today Heineken is a huge multinational company, one of the three largest beer producers in the world. Heineken’s rich and successful history has been presented in their old defunct brewery in Amsterdam, with several amusement park attractions added to the exhibit and renamed as Heineken Experience.
Getting to De Pijp
The easiest way to get to De Pijp is by tram. From the Amsterdam Central Station, either take tram 16 or 24 and get off at tramstop “Stadhouderskade” or “Albert Cuyp Straat.” The neighborhood is also server by tram lines 3, 4, 7, 10 and 12.
De Pijp is located just south of the center of Amsterdam. From Dam square you walk down Rokin and Vijzelstraat, it’s a 20 minute walk.
Parking option are limited and expensive. If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam by car, I recommend you check out my article on parking in Amsterdam.
Where to stay
De Pijp doesn’t host a wide range of hotel options. I recommend you look for an apartment or room on Airbnb. There are plenty of properties listed and it’s cheaper than if you were to stay in a hotel. You can even rent my precious little home in the Gerard Doustraat, right in the middle of the neighborhood within crawling distance of the Albert Cuyp Market.
If you do prefer to stay in a hotel, I recommend Olive Bed & Breakfast and Hotel Atlantis if you’re on a budget. If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, Sir Albert Hotel and the Okura Hotel are good options. The latter features an excellent range of dining options, including two Michelin star restaurants. It also hosts a cocktail bar on the top floor with one of the best views of Amsterdam.
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