Overview: Discover Amsterdam's Pijp (pronounced Pipe) neighborhood. You will learn about Amsterdam's pre-WWII diamond industry, the history of... more »
Overview: Discover Amsterdam's Pijp (pronounced Pipe) neighborhood. You will learn about Amsterdam's pre-WWII diamond industry, the history of... more » Heineken Brewery, experience the Netherlands' largest outdoor market and see excellent examples of the Amsterdam School architectural movement. less «
The Pijp neighborhood is south of Amsterdam's city center. It is approximately two miles from Dam Square to the start of the guide.... more » You can walk, bike or take public transport to the guide's starting point.
By public transport, catch Tram 5 at the stop "Dam" toward Amstelveen Binnenhof. This stop is just to the west of Dam Square (on the other side of the Royal Palace from the square). Get off Tram 5 at the stop "Museumplein" and transfer onto Tram 3 toward Muiderpoort Station. Get off Tram 5 at the "Amsteldijk" stop. less «
We start our tour of the Pijp (pronounced Pipe) neighborhood on Ceintuurbaan near the intersection with Amsteldijk. See "Tips" to learn how to get to the starting point by public transport.
Our starting point is a curiosity rather than a point of historical interest. As you stand on the south side of the busy Ceintuurbaan find house No. 251... More across the way. You can't miss it—there aren't any other houses on the street that have two large green gnomes sitting upon the facades tossing a ball back and forth. The house was built in 1884 and designed by A.C. Boersma. It is said that the two gnomes represent the two contractors who worked together to complete the house. Gnomes aside, it is architecturally interesting with its pointed arches, gargoyles and ornate decorated woodwork. It is a mix of styles not typically seen in Amsterdam architecture.
The walk to our next POI takes us a couple hundred yards along the Amstel River. You may wonder why the little nondescript house at Rustenburgerstraat 8 is included in this tour. This is one of the few remaining examples of a polder house in the Pijp, and it speaks to the neighborhood's history.
A polder is a piece of lowland that has been... More reclaimed from a marsh or river. Dikes are built to protect the polder from flooding. Much of the Pijp neighborhood (and indeed much of Amsterdam) was once polder when the nearby Amstel River was diked to create buildable and farmable land.
At this polder house you can see where the street level was much lower than it is now. During the 17th century (known as the Dutch Golden Age) wealthy Amsterdam residents built country estates in this area, along the banks of the Amstel River, to escape the crowded and unsanitary life inside the city walls. There were also inns and large gardens here where city folks could enjoy the country life. One regular visitor to this area was Rembrandt, who made several sketches and etchings of this area.
The Pijp used to be part of a separate township, independent from Amsterdam, named Nieuwer-Amstel. The building at the corner of Amsteldijk and Tolstraat was completed in 1892 and was once the town hall of Nieuwer-Amstel.
Due to the availability of open space and lower taxes compared to Amsterdam, the township grew rapidly from the mid-19th... More century until it was incorporated by Amsterdam in 1896. This building was the town hall for only four years. Until 2007 it was used to house Amsterdam's huge collection of municipal archives. Currently there are plans to turn this building into a neighborhood center of creative and cultural activities.
This stop is actually a district within the Pijp. It is known as Diamantbuurt, or the diamond district. From the late 1800s until WWII this area was the hub of Amsterdam's world-class diamond industry.
At the GPS location for POI No. 4 you are standing in front of the former headquarters of the Royal Asscher Diamond Co., which was founded in 1854... More. At its peak, this factory employed around 300 diamond cutters. It was in this building in 1908 that the Cullinan, the largest crude diamond in the world, was split and cut.
Follow the GPS west on Tolstraat, then take a left onto Diamantstraat and notice the squat houses on either side of the street. These were built in 1891 to house the diamond factory laborers.
Continue to walk down Diamantstraat until you see the round building on the right at the intersection with Smaragdstraat. This building was built in 1926 as a public bathhouse for the neighborhood. In those days, before many houses had built-in bathrooms, these bathhouses were common and built by the city to encourage cleanliness. These public bathhouses were popular community gathering places through the 1950s, when their popularity started to decline. Amsterdam's bathhouses were finally closed in the 1980s.
To learn more about the history of diamonds, and Amsterdam's diamond industry, go to the Diamond Museum in Amsterdam's Museum District at Paulus Potterstraat 8. The museum is open daily 9am-5pm, cost is €7.50 for adults 18-64 and €5 for children 13-18 and seniors. Kids infant to 12 are free.
Continue down Diamantstraat to the canal and turn right onto Jozef Israelskade. Cross the busy Van Woustraat and walk two blocks, turning right onto P.L. Takstraat.
This POI is a working-class residential complex within the Pijp neighborhood. This area is known as the Dageraadcomplex and was built in 1923. This complex is an excellent example of the Amsterdam School architectural style, which arose around 1910 and was popular and influential for two decades.
In the Dagraadcomplex you can clearly see how... More the designers aimed to create a unified work of art. The walls of the houses, the letterboxes, the sculptures, the cornices, even the house numbers are cohesive. Amsterdam School buildings are characterized by complex brick construction with a rounded or organic appearance with integrated elements such as decorative masonry, art glass, wrought ironwork and integrated architectural sculpture.
The aim was to create a total architectural experience, interior and exterior. The buildings' designs express the socialist conviction that laborers were entitled to a beautiful living environment too.
Walk down P.L. Takstraat noticing the detail of the design and skill of the builders. Look underneath the balconies to see the complex masonry work. If you look up you will see lead-cast roosters on either side of the cornice announcing the break of a new day (dageraad means daybreak)—the awakened awareness of the working class.
Follow the GPS route into the Cooperatiehof (cooperation courtyard). This courtyard contains a public library and tall neighborhood clock. Exit Cooperatiehof out the western gate and follow the GPS route through Pijp neighborhoods to our next POI: Sarphatipark.Less
Sarphatipark opened in 1886 and lies in the center of the Pijp. Prior to its opening there were plans to build the Amsterdam Central Station at this spot, which would have made this area the transportation hub of the city.
Sarphatipark is named after Samuel Sarphati. Sarphati was a doctor, an architect and a man who showed great concern for the ... Moreliving conditions of Amsterdam's poor. A large statue of Samuel Sarphati stands in the center of Sarphatipark.
After a leisurely walk around Sarphatipark, exit out the west side and follow the GPS track to the Albert Cuypstraat Market.Less
The Albert Cuypstraat Market is the largest outdoor market in the Netherlands. The market began in 1904, shortly after the expansion of the city was completed. The street is named after Albert Cuyp, a famous 17th century landscape painter. Anything from fresh fruit to bicycles to clothing can be purchased here at reasonable prices.
A good place... More to eat on Albert Cuypstraat is Bazaar, a spacious restaurant that specializes in Eastern cuisine (North African, Moroccan, Turkish) with good options for children and vegetarians. The atmosphere is interesting, as it is a former church that has been redecorated to resemble a mosque. It’s a perfect rest point whether you’re ready for a full meal or just a coffee and baklava. Bazaar is open Monday-Friday 11am-midnight and Saturday-Sunday 9am-midnight.
Our tour ends at the Pijp's most famous and durable enterprise: the Heineken brewery. Located at Stadhouderskade 78, the first Heineken beer was brewed near this spot on Jan. 22, 1868, by founder Gerard Adrianus Heineken. Heineken hasn't been brewed here since 1988, when the company's growth forced its operations to southern Dutch towns of Den... More Bosch and Zoeterwoude.
The Heineken Experience tour contains a lot of marketing and can be very crowded, but it is also interesting to learn about the history of the Netherland's best-known export.
Kids €1 per year of age up to €12
To return to the center you can catch Tram 16 toward Central Station on Ferdinand Bolstraat, just west of Heineken Experience. Stops along this line include Dam Square and Central Station.Less