While the pedestrian traffic pulses southward from Amsterdam Central Station, toward the urban bustle of Dam Square and environs, visitors who head east from the station find themselves in a less crowded, but just as splendid corner of Amsterdam. The Eastern Docklands spreads out over several interconnected islands of various shapes and sizes, from the Eastern Trade Quay (Oostelijke Handelskade) in the west to the Eastern Islands and the Kadijks (Oostelijke Eilanden en Kadijken) in the east. Here, marvelous architecture - from the handsome 19th-century Lloyd Hotel to the futuristic ARCAM (Architecture Center Amsterdam) - harbors top attractions, fine restaurants, deluxe accommodations and more in this nook of the city.
What to Do & See in the Eastern Docklands:
- Trace Amsterdam's development by land and sea - Take to the Eastern Docklands' museums to find out how Amsterdam built itself up both on land and sea. The Scheepvaartmuseum (Dutch Maritime Museum, Kattenburgerplein 1) enlumines what Amsterdam owes to its identity as a port city, from the 17th-century heyday of the Dutch naval power to the present. Inside the dramatic premises of ARCAM (Architecture Center Amsterdam, Prins Hendrikkade 600), visitors can watch the architectural history of Amsterdam unfold on a panorama that illustrates its expansion from settlement to modern European capital.
- Discover science deep in the hull of Science Center NEMO - Bound to entertain the entire family, Science Center NEMO (Oosterdok 2) stimulates visitors' curiosity with multiple floors of hands-on exhibits that demonstrate the science behind how the world works. Its whimsical, hull-shaped exterior has turned NEMO into an architectural icon of the Eastern Docklands.
- Take in the views - Self-service restaurant and cafe La Place, on the top floor of the central branch of the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Amsterdam Public Library, Oosterdokskade 143), offers access to the riverside Jo Coenen Terrace (named after its architect); visitors can take in the marvelous views over a meal or snack. Just farther eastward, BovenNEMO - Science Center NEMO's rooftop terrace - is open in summer for spectacular, panoramic views, but its culinary options are more limited (and noticeably kid-centric).
- Listen to the music - Two of the most revered concert halls in the city are in the Eastern Docklands. The Muziekgebouw aan het IJ (Concert Hall on the IJ River, Piet Heinkade 1) specializes in classical music, but is apt to feature jazz, world music and more; the black box that juts out from the side of this concert hall is the Bimhuis (Piet Heinkade 3), a world-renowned venue for jazz and improvisational music. Popular music is represented at Panama* (Oostelijke Handelskade 4), which hosts major international acts and lesser-known artists.
Where to Eat & Drink in the Eastern Docklands:
- Fifteen (Jollemanhof 9) - This Amsterdam outpost of Gordan Ramsey's London restaurant, also called Fifteen, trains at-risk youth for careers in the restaurant industry. Beside the noble mission, it also serves a first-class menu of continental (chiefly Italian) fare.
- KHL (Oostelijke Handelskade 44) - Once the coffeehouse of the monumental Lloyd Hotel on the same street, KHL is now an indepedent restaurant-cafe whose quaint premises include a lovely outdoor patio; live music is often added to the mix.
- Brouwerij 't IJ (Funenkade 7) - This city brewery is located in a former bathhouse in the shadow of the Netherlands' tallest wooden windmill, De Gooyer. Patrons turn out in droves to sample its house-brewed beers and artisanal bar snacks; free tours of the brewery are also offered every Friday and Sunday at 4 p.m.