Amsterdam/Zuid

Zuid is one of Amsterdam's seven boroughs. It is an affluent area and a popular place among foreign visitors. It has some of the country's best museums, fine dining, and lots of opportunities for shopping. It's also where many visitors sleep, as it has a plethora of affordable accommodation options relatively close to the city centre.

Understand

During the 1860s, when the Dutch economy grew rapidly, the Canal District became too small for the city's wealthy residents. Development of the Museum Quarter started, named that way because the upper classes of that time found this new area the perfect place for a grand national museum, the Rijksmuseum. The Museum Quarter is Amsterdam's equivalent of Paris' 1st arrondissement. With the later construction of the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, the area now has three top class museums side by side. The Rijksmuseum, affectionately nicknamed "Rijks" by the locals, is largely similar to the British Museum or the Louvre, and houses a treasure of Dutch Golden Age paintings from Rembrandt, Vermeer, and others. The Van Gogh Museum is the largest collection of paintings and drawings from the post-Impressionist master, while the Stedelijk Museum has an impressive display of modern art. Surrounding the museums are the Vondelpark and the P.C. Hooftstraat, where you can spot Dutch celebrities buying designer shoes and gold watches.

De Pijp was developed around the same time, and city planner Van Niftrik had grand plans for the area. Then known as "neighbourhood YY", it was planned to become the new city centre of Amsterdam. A railway line was supposed to cut the district in half, and Amsterdam Centraal, the city's main railway station, was planned here. The neighbourhood was envisioned with large residential blocks and grand avenues, and it was supposed to have a grandeur that equalled that of Paris. However, the city council struck the plan down, as required land purchases made it too costly, and large tenements were needed to house a growing working class. In 1876, urban planner Kalff came with a new plan, which was accepted, and turned the neighbourhood into an example of revolutiebouw, a late-19th-century architectural movement dedicated to building as much cheap housing as possible for a booming population. Nowadays, De Pijp has gentrified, and blue collar workers are slowly making way for by students, yuppies and foreign-born residents. The Albert Cuyp Market, a large working class street market, is a nationally famous attraction, and the area around the Heinekenplein is Amsterdam's equivalent of Paris' Quartier Latin, a going out area for students and beer lovers.

The Museum Quarter and De Pijp are known together as Oud-Zuid ("Old South"). Between 1917 and 1927, the middle and upper-class neighbourhoods of Nieuw-Zuid ("New South") were built, designed by urban planner Berlage in the Amsterdam School style, a movement of functionalist architecture. The 1928 Olympic Games took place here, as can still be seen by the Olympic Stadium and the Greek names of the streets. In the following decades, Amsterdam kept expanding southwards gobbling up surrounding municipalities with neighbourhoods like Buitenveldert. Since the late 1990s, a large construction project is taking place in an area known as the Zuidas (or "Financial Mile"). It's Amsterdam's central business district, inspired by La Défense in Paris. Yes, Paris again. While some of Zuid's urban planning may have been inspired by that grand city, it has a unique atmosphere and completely stands on its own.

Get in

By car

If you are arriving by car, the best advice is to park it at the Olympisch Stadion (Olympic stadium) park and ride and use public transport to get around. The P&R costs 1 Euro for 24 hours if you arrive after 10:00 AM (or anytime in weekends). Otherwise it costs 8 Euro for first 24 hours.

By train

The district's main transportation hub is Amsterdam Zuid, located on the strategic railway line between the Schiphol Airport and Utrecht (with another branch going to Almere), which connects to pretty much all major Dutch cities in provinces other than North and South Holland. Metro lines 50 and 51, tram line 5 and numerous bus lines stop at Amsterdam Zuid allowing easy access to both the district and the rest of Amsterdam. Tram line 5 and Metro 51 run all the way north to Amsterdam Centraal, with the tram stopping close to many major attractions.

Of note is the fact that trains from Schiphol to Amsterdam-Zuid take only 7 minutes and cost half of what trains to Centraal do, so if Zuid is on your list, you may want to begin there and make your way to the north.

By tram

Zuid is a vast district and just looking at a map of all the tram lines that go through it can make you dazzle. But it's not that complicated if you know the few lines that are interesting for visitors. From Centraal Station, the fastest tram to the Museum Quarter is line 5, get out at either Hobbemastraat (Rijksmuseum, Vondelpark, P.C. Hooftstraat), Van Baerlestraat (Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum) or Museumplein (Concertgebouw). This line continues to Station Zuid (Zuidas).

For De Pijp, take tram line 16 or 24, stops Stadhouderskade and Albert Cuypstraat. You can also take these lines if you're going to the Olympic Stadium (stop Stadionplein).

By metro

For now, only the southern part of the borough is covered by the metro. From Amsterdam Centraal, take metro line 50 or 51 to station RAI or Zuid (for the Zuidas). Metro line 50 then continues in a north-western direction, while metro line 51 connects the district with Amstelveen in the south.

This will change when construction on the Noord/Zuidlijn completes in 2017. This new line will run right through the district along a north/south axis. Planned metro stops are De Pijp, Europaplein and Zuid.

Rijksmuseum

See

Museums

Van Gogh Museum

The Museum Quarter has some of the best museums of the world, and especially the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum stand out. A trip to Amsterdam is not complete if you haven't been to at least one of these museums. Catering to its wealthy demographic, there are also two diamond museums here.

Stedelijk Museum

Parks

People and bicycles in the Vondelpark

Windmills

In Zuid, only the Molen van Sloten is open for visitors. The Molen van Sloten at Akersluis 10, about 10 minutes walk from the terminus of tram line 2, open daily from 10:00AM to 4PM.

Other windmills:

Beaches

Do

Buy

The population of Zuid is mixed and that becomes most apparent when you're going shopping.

Eat

De Pijp is an excellent area for getting ethnic food that belongs to former Dutch colonies, such as Indonesian or Surinamese cuisine. Koreans have congregated in the area known as Buitenveldert, so that's an excellent location for Korean cuisine.

Budget

Mid-range

Drink

Having a drink at the Heinekenplein

Nightclubs

Coffeeshops

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under €80
Mid-range €80 to €150
Splurge Over €150

Due to the area being cheaper than the center, Zuid has become the most popular location for budget and mid-range hotels.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

The Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum have free Wi-Fi throughout the museum, and the Stedelijk Museum has Wi-Fi and laptop connections available in the reading room of its library. Bagels & Beans branches also offer unlimited free Wi-Fi access, and can be found in the Ferdinand Bolstraat (near the Albert Cuyp Market and Heinekenplein), Van Baerlestraat (near the P.C. Hooftstraat and Vondelpark) and the Pernassusweg (near the Zuidas).

Go next

If you haven't had enough of the museums, go to the Hermitage in Plantage and the Anne Frank House in the Canal District. The Canal District also has some quality dining and shopping options.

If you want to go completely off the beaten track, visit the urban forest Amsterdamse Bos in Amstelveen. It's three times the size of New York's Central Park and visited by 4.5 million visitors annually (mostly locals). You can have a walk, hire a bicycle or go rowing or riding. If you're with children, visit the pancake restaurant or the petting zoo.

Routes through Zuid

Binnenstad Canal District  N  S  Amstelveen
Binnenstad Canal District  N  S  END
West  W  E  Oost Binnenstad
Binnenstad Oost  N  S  Amstelveen


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, December 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.