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Amsterdam West

Amsterdam West

Amsterdam West is not the first area you visit when you’re coming to Amsterdam. You can easily miss it, just because you haven’t heard of exciting exhibitions in this area, an interesting sightseeing or other architectural masterpieces. Yet, Amsterdam West exits over eight boroughs and deserves attention. Let’s discover what Amsterdam West is about and which are the most attention-grabbing spots to visit?

More than one third of the population in Amsterdam lives in the west of Amsterdam. From the latest quart of the nineteenth century, the inhabitants started to expand this part of the city. Nowadays, we are familiar with eight boroughs in this area: Westpoort, Westerpark, Oud-West, Bos & Lommer, de Baarsjes, Geuzenveld-Slotermeer, Osdorp en Slotervaart. Borough Westpoort is actually not very interesting, it is an indstrial business area where only 370 people live. The biggest borough is Osdorp, with more than 45.000 inhabitants. This area is established as one of the first autonomic boroughs of Amsterdam. The name Osdorp is deducted from Oostdorp (East village) because its first inhabitants orientated this area in comparison with a westward city called Haarlem. Further, Osdorp is known as a multicultural area which becomes more clear when you visit the weekly market on Tuesday (from , tram 1 & 17). One of the eye catchers of Osdorp is a complex for the elderly because of the fine architecture of this building. This complex, named Oklahoma and situated at Ookmeerweg 1, is exceptional due to its literally pranced livings, finished with balconies of coloured glass. A masterpiece of architecture, just in the middle of a regular Dutch street. 

 

Osdorp is situated between Geuzenveld/Slotermeer and Slotervaart. As you can notice, this first borough is divided in two former boroughs: Geuzenveld and Slotermeer. The name Geuzenveld originates from ´The Geuzen´, a group of people in the 16th century who tried to expand the influence from the ´Reformation´, as an answer against the Roman Catholic Church. To predicate the religious doctrine, the ´Geuzen´ held open predicates in the forest or on farmer landscape. One of these farmers was called ´Geuseveld´. The streets in Geuzenveld are named after these ´Geuzen´ from the 16th century, but also after diplomats and politics from the 20th century and architects from the 19th and 20th century. The other part of this borough is called Slotermeer. The area Slotermeer was founded in the fifties of the previous area, named after a nearby ´Slotermeer´ (a combination of a ditch and a lake). With more than 40.000 inhabitants, Geuzenveld/Slotermeer is a tight populated area that’s currently subject to one of the biggest projects for urban renewal in Europe. In contrast, this borough is also known for its green areas. The ´Brettenzone´ in the north still houses a lot of threaten species of animals, flora and fauna and next to this, it assets four parks, under which the most important: Sloterpark.

 

Geuzenveld, Slotermeer and Osdorp are, together with Slotervaart part of the ´Westelijke Tuinsteden´. These ´Garden cities in the west´ can be recognized as ´green places´; which means a lot of green nature between the buildings served as a better town development in the west of Amsterdam. Slotervaart is originally named after a connection between two former villages, Sloten and the Overtoom. The village Sloten, has been known from 1063, when a first small settlement was named after a river called Sloot or Sloter in Amsterdam. Hence, this village is 200 years older than Amsterdam. The Slotervaart (Sloot = ditch, vaart = canal) served until the fifties every morning as a transport for fresh vegetables to Amsterdam centre. In winter these canal was perfect for skating on ice. Nowadays Slotervaart is known for its multiculturalism (the inhabitants are a mixture of Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan people) and is also listed for urban renewal.

 

There are four more boroughs left to discuss: Bos & Lommer, the Baarsjes, Oud-West and Westerpark. Bos & Lommer can be considered as one of the heralds of the Westelijke Tuinsteden. It is still one of the greenest boroughs of Amsterdam. The given name Bos & Lommer derives from an 18th century farmhouse (Bosch & Lommer) that was situated at the current Bos & Lommerplein. The village Sloterdijk is also part of this borough and is protected because of its culture historic houses and churches from the 17th and 19th century. Further, Bos & Lommer owns a few remarkable buildings like the Pniël Church (also know as the ´hot plate´ due to its mosaic in the frontage of the two towers) and the Resurrection Church (commend highly attributable to its coal scuttle form). The architecture in borough the Baarsjes can be characterized mostly as Modern Architecture. Several quarters have been building by the Amsterdam School as a response to building styles similar to the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. For example, take a look at the Mercatorplein, designed by H.P Berlage (he designed Beurs van Berlage as well).

 

One borough further to your right is Oud-West, one of the most beloved boroughs of Amsterdam. Oud-West is known as authentic, non touristy and typical for Amsterdam. Foreigners can visit this borough because of the art (for example the Wilhelmina Gasthuis, one of the biggest colonies of art in Europe) or industrial buildings. But why not mingle with the inhabitants during shopping at the Kinkerstraat, buying food at the Ten Kate Market or chill out in the Bilderdijkpark?

 

Last but not least, we end this feature with borough Westerpark. This area is easy recognized by the public garden just near the Haarlemmerplein. Behind this park, you find the area of the Westergasfabriek (Western gasworks). Build in 1883; it was used as a coals gasworks for public lightning. Nowadays this area is a platform of the catering industry, theatre, sports and culture. The architecture in this borough has also been influenced by the Amsterdam School; such as three buildings at the Spaarndammerplantsoen (designed by Michel de Klerk). If you are interested in architecture and the Amsterdam School, visit the Museum about the Amsterdam School in this same street at the post office at number 140.

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