While often overlooked by foreign visitors, locals know that the west of Amsterdam has a lot to offer visitors. There's whole neighborhoods in unique 19th-century architectural styles, some of the best bars and clubs in Amsterdam, and the quickly gentrifying Oud-West. Administratively, the district consists of two boroughs, West and Nieuw-West, and Westpoort, a port along the IJ directly controlled by the municipal authorities.
Due to a strong population increase in the second half of the 19th century, Amsterdam needed to expand in a westwards direction from the city center. The first street that was built was the Vondelstraat in an area now known as the Vondelbuurt. It was designed by the architect Pierre Cuypers. It is an affluent street with stately mansions bordering the Vondelpark. The horse tram ran through this street from 1877 till 1903, but was then superseded by electric tram line 1 along the Overtoom just north of it (still going strong). Together with the Kinkerstraat, these streets are the oldest of the area and thus known as Oud-West ("Old West").
In 1921, Amsterdam absorbed the former municipality of Sloten. A year later, the Plan West was launched that proposed the construction of 6000 new houses in the neighborhood now known as De Baarsjes. They were to be built in the Amsterdam School style, an Expressionist style that was critical of the Neo-Renaissance style in which many buildings were designed before. Construction of the neighborhood took place between 1925 and 1927, and some areas were built in the contrasting New Objectivity style, such as the Mercatorplein by H. P. Berlage. The best examples of the Amsterdam School style can be found in the Spaarndammerbuurt, for example 'Het Schip' by Michel de Klerk in the Zaanstraat and Oostzaanstraat, which now houses a museum dedicated to the style.
The Westerpark was constructed in 1890 at the site of the city's former gasworks. It's a cultural hotspot for artists and students with hip cafes, eateries, galleries, clubs and an art house cinema. The Houthavens east of the park has some remarkable architecture: the Silodam, basically a giant horizontal Jenga tower on water, surrounded by the historical Graansilo and Stenen Silo, old grain silos built in the late 19th century. Sloterdijk is a booming business center and Intercity station with connections to Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam Central Station. You can find excellent hotels here for affordable prices, but views will consist entirely of modern office blocks.
After 1950, construction works began on a large residential area west of the motorway A10. They were called the Westelijke Tuinsteden, but are now administratively part of the borough of Nieuw-West ("New West") and usually called out by that name.
The line between Amsterdam Centraal, Amsterdam's main train station in the heart of its city centre, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol runs through the middle of Amsterdam-West. There are two stations on that line - Amsterdam Lelylaan and Amsterdam Sloterdijk. All trains between Schiphol and Centraal stop at both of them. Sloterdijk is a major interchange, situated on a railway crossing between the north-south line (serving all of North Holland north of Amsterdam and connecting to South Holland via Schiphol) and the east-west line between Amsterdam and Haarlem. Trains running to Sloterdijk through Amsterdam Centraal connect the station to much of the rest of the country, with some stopping at Lelylaan as well.
Metro lines 50 and 51 both pass westbound through Amsterdam Zuid station then turn northbound through the West district, terminating at Isolatorweg. Line 50 comes via Zuid from Zuidoost while line 51 comes via Zuid from Amsterdam Centraal Station in the city centre. Several metro stations with tram connections are: Heemstedestraat, Lelylaan, Jan van Galenstraat, Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan and Sloterdijk.
These are the tram lines serving the West district as of January 2020:
- Tram 1 passes westbound through Leidseplein and Vondelbuurt as it passes to metro station Lelylaan and terminates at Osdorp de Aker.
- Tram 2 runs from Amsterdam Centraal via Leidseplein towards Rijksmuseum, passes Vondelpark on the southern side, passes metro station Heemsteedestraat and terminates at Nieuw Sloten in the south-west.
- Tram 5 passes Leidseplein traveling north to Van Halsstraat (Westergasfabrik) near Westerpark which has an old gas plant (gasfabrik) converted into a cultural centre. Note: Until November 2022, Westergasfabrik is temporarily served by tram 3 from Marnixplein instead of line 5.
- Tram 7 runs westbound through Leidseplein with a zig-zag route via Marnixstraat, west on Elandsgracht and Kinkerstraat, north on Hoofdweg, west passing Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan metro station and south on Slotermeerlaan to terminate at Sloterpark (Slotermeer).
- Tram 13 runs from Amsterdam Centraal through Jordaan and northern Oud West, then stops at the north end of Rembrandtpark, metro station Jan van Galen-Straat and terminates in Geuzenveld.
- Tram 17 runs from Amsterdam Centraal through Jordaan, but traverses Oud West further south than tram 13 and paprtly overlaps the route of tram 1. It passes Lelylaan metro station to terminate at Osdorp Dirkgrafplein.
- Tram 19 passes through Leidseplein on a roughly north-west route to terminate at metro station Sloterdijk.
- Bus 18 runs regularly from Slotervaart via Mercatorplein, de Markthallen, Frederik hendrikbuurt and Haarlemmerplein to Amsterdam Centraal station
- Bus 21 runs regularly from Geuzenveld via Slotermeer, Bos en Lommerplein, Staatsliedenbuurt, (the beautiful) Frederik hendrikplantsoen and Haarlemmer Houttuinen to Amsterdam Centraal station
- 1 Museum Het Schip. A museum about the Amsterdam School architectural style, housed in a building that is probably the city's best example of that style. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11:00 to 17:00, entrance €7.50, includes 20 min. guided tour.
- 2 Rembrandtpark. Not too far west of the Vondelpark, but much quieter and larger in size.
- 3 Westerpark. A park at the western edge of the centre, with cultural activities in a former gas factory (Westergasfabriek). Access from Haarlemmerweg.
Scattered over the district are plenty of windmills. Although only one of them is open to the public, all look good on pictures.
- 4 De 1100 Roe (1674). In the Ookmeer sports fields along Ma Braunpad.
- 5 De 1200 Roe (1632), Haarlemmerweg 701. Near Seineweg.
- 6 De Bloem (1878), Haarlemmerweg 465. at Nieuwpoortkade.
- 7 De Otter (1631). A restored and functioning sawmill, opposite Buyskade, west of the Jordaan.
- 8 Molen van Sloten, Akersluis 10 (about 10 minutes walk from the terminus of tram line 2), ☏ . daily 10:00-16:00. In Zuid, the only one open for visitors
- 1 Dosa, Overtoom 146 (Vondelpark), ☏ . They specialise in traditional Southern Indian cuisine, especially the eponymous 'Dosa' (a rice and lentil pancake with a variety of fillings). The food is outstanding and well worth hunting out. The dosas are exceptional and a treat worthy of a visit by themselves.
- 2 Hap Hmm, Eerste Helmersstraat 33, 1054 CZ, Amsterdam, ☏ . 5PM to 9:15PM, Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. Traditional Dutch cuisine. The restaurant may be cramped, but it does serve some quality and rustic Dutch fare. This place is cash only.
- 3 Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51. Su-Th 12:00-23:00, Fr-Sa 12:00-24:00. International food court with 20 food-stands housed in a large building that was once a tram depot
- 1 TonTon Club West, Polonceaukade 27 (Bus Van Hallstraat), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 13:00-01:00 daily. TonTon Club is an excellent place for a good night out. The place has a unique atmosphere with Japan as its inspiration. Upstairs there are arcades and button bashers, downstairs there's room for drinks and board games. You can also order Japanese snacks. Be early as tables are often reserved. €1 per game.
- 1 Hotel ABBA, Overtoom 118-122 (Vondelpark, Tram: Overtoom or Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat), ☏ . Cheap but clean hotel, close to the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum.
- MissOrtelia (Baarjes), Orteliuskade 51-I, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: flexible, check-out: 10:30. Free luggage store. Free bikes - Wi-fi free - breakfast included. €40/90.
- Holiday Inn Express Amsterdam - Sloterdijk Station, Zaventemweg 3. This HIExpress is right in the midst of the web of tracks extending around Sloterdijk station, making it very convenient for travel to just about any point in Amsterdam. That said, the actual area around the hotel is a sombre office park and a huge "transferium", so it is best to only come there to sleep and have (free) breakfast.
- Meininger Hotel Amsterdam City West, Orlyplein 1-67. The Meininger chain's properties sit somewhere between budget hotels and hostels, with available multi-person rooms with bunk beds and on-site laundrette. The hotel is relatively new and visually attractive if rather basic inside. Again, staying in the midst of Sloterdijk is great for transit possibilities and rather unexciting regarding everything else. €41.
- 2 Stayokay Vondelpark, Zandpad 5 (Tram Stadhouderskade), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: early check-in begins at 07:30, rooms available at 14:00, check-out: 10:30. Fairly large youth hostel, very clean and professional, operated by the Dutch affiliate of Hostelling International. Next to the pleasant Vondelpark, puts you on the south-western side of the city center and just a few blocks from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. The breakfast is filling and has a social atmosphere. This location is popular with school groups. Bring a padlock for your locker, or purchase one at the desk. Dorms from €17, privates from €50.
- Bastion Hotel Amsterdam Zuidwest, Nachtwachtlaan 11, ☏ .
- Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre, Staalmeesterslaan 410. The Ramada is a solid property, but calling it "Amsterdam Centre" was not even close to reality, as the hotel is at the remote of Rembrandtpark, close to the A10 ringroad running across Amsterdam-West. That said, you will find getting to the city quite easy thanks to them tram 13 stop at the hotel's back and the park provides a tranquil environment. The best rooms have great views of Amsterdam over the park, the less fortunate guests will have to enjoy residential blocks of Slotervaart. The good news is that the hotel has a top-floor restaurant, bar and terrace for everybody to enjoy the best views.
- 3 Roemer Hotel, Roemer Visscherstraat 10, ☏ . Trendy boutique hotel. Doubles from €129.
- 4 Amsterdam Marriott Hotel, Stadhouderskade 12. At the border of Oud-West and the Canal District, this old-fashioned Marriott can offer a relatively attractive rate and still has a convenient location for exploring the city centre.
- 5 Park Plaza Amsterdam Airport, Melbournestraat 1, Lijnden, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. The hotel has 19 meeting rooms as well as 6 business suites. The hotel provides free shuttle service from and to the airport as well as free wi-fi in public areas. From €79.
|Routes through West|
|END ←||W E||→ Zuid → Binnenstad|