De Pijp District in Amsterdam
Just a short tram ride south of Centraal Station takes you into one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant districts of Amsterdam. Welcome to de Pijp. For the eternally inquisitive, many will try to second-guess what de Pijp stands for but 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, the ‘Pipe’, which used to supply energy to the area. 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). The young, old, students, artists, and families have all chosen to make de Pijp their home, and far removed from the hustle and bustle of central Amsterdam, this homely alternative is appealing. Today, de Pijp is so popular that house prices have gone up an astonishing 350%!
Like the neighboring 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, Surinamese restaurants, to name but a few, and 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 us.
A few seconds walk from Heineken Brewery is Bar Restaurant Simpel, specialising in French and Mediterranean cuisine.
Just Heinekenplein is bar-restaurant Bar-ca. Established early 2005, Bar-ca is playfully named after Barcelona, serving Spanish and International cuisines. The concept behind the name reflects their attempt to recreate the atmosphere one may experience on a visit to Spain.
Eerste van der Helststmat 72. (Tel. 672 05 79)
Open: daily 5-11pm
If you're looking for stylish interiors, don’t look now. If however, you are after a hearty meal with a Middle Eastern twist, pull up a chair. Highly recommended is the excellent Assyrian rissoles pancakes stuffed with chicken, lamb or cheese for €3,60 or the lentil soup for €3.
Ferdinand Bolstraat 13-15. (Tel. 672 06 51)
Open: Sun-Thurs (6pm-1am), Fri -Sat (6pm-3am); kitchen open 6-11pm
For the ultimate in gastronomic extravagance, indulge yourself with some foie gras at the ‘Naughty one’ and admire the sheer flamboyancy of the interiors: mirrored columns, erotic vintage photos and chandeliers.
Saenredamstraat 37. (Tel. 664 00 66)
Open: daily 4pm-midnight
The atmosphere at this ultra cool whitewashed Mediterranean is buzzing and the tapas equally as exciting. No corners are cut when it comes to taste. Choose from a mouthwatering selection of 12 tapas including the garlicky mushrooms or the ceviche (marinated fish). Full meals include pinchos morenos (€7,50) and grilled salmon. Cash only.
Quellijnstraat 104. (Tel. 673 6361)
Open: Tue-Sun (6.30-10.30pm)
Surrender to Mamouch, the latest Moroccan neighbour to the multicultural Pijp. Mamouch not only offers an inexpensive menu but a highly minimalist backdrop. The music is simply entrancing.
Albert Cuypstraat 69. (Tel. 675 51 35)
Open: Tue-Sat (10:30am-10pm), Sun noon-10pm
Extremely friendly service, excellent value for money and very popular with the locals. Top marks for the Tjauw minh (thin noodles with meat and veg) and the €4,31; gado gado (vegetables smothered in peanut sauce). Cash only.
For bars, check out
1e van der Helststraat 62a, (675 7672)
Open: Mon-Thur, Sun 10am-1am; Fri, Sat 10am-3am
No credit cards
Roelof Hartplein 1-3, (676 8220)
Open: 9am-1am Mon-Thur; 9am-3am Fri; 10am-2am Sat; 10am-1am Sun.
Accept credit cards
Aside from the bars and restaurants, the Leidseplein is a mere ten minutes walk away, the Van Gogh museum five minutes and the red light district just around the corner on the Ruysdaelkade , behind the Rijksmuseum. D e Pijp is the smallest of the three red light districts and coincidentally, it is also Dutch slang for "penis". But if you don’t fancy venturing out of de Pijp just quite yet, and who would blame you, take a picnic down to the beautiful Sarphati Park which has its own surrounding lake. Or if you think of yourself as a bit of a beer connoisseur, pop into the Heineken Brewery.
Even if you tried, you couldn’t miss this enormous red-brick building on Stadhouderskade Although Heineken is no longer a brewery, it has been fully renovated and now operates as a museum. Not only can you trace the 244-year history of the Heineken Empire, pick up a few tips on brewing, meet Dr Elion. (Inventor of Heineken’s magic ingredient), and look inside a hop boiler but you can also go on a Bottle Ride. Seated on a moving platform, you follow the production route of a bottle of beer. Of course, if you have worked up a thirst after running the whole gamut of activities on offer at the Heineken Experience, reward yourself with a pint or two. Cheers!