De Pijp is probably my favourite neighbourhood in Amsterdam.
Literally meaning “The Pipe”, it probably takes it’s name from the long, narrow streets that run through the area like pipes, although nobody really knows, and it is the city’s old working-class district and Latin quarter.
In the mid-1800s, the population of Amsterdam exploded, and De Pijp quickly became the vibrant home to the artists, students, prostitutes and traders. The Dutch painter Mondriaan even lived there at one point!
As you get closer to the centre of De Pijp, the streets start to feel more bohemian, with plants all over the streets, and eclectic objects scattered outside houses.
The quieter streets are home to Aladdin’s caves, like this one I stumbled upon, filled with exotic Eastern lamps..
De Pijp is a very multicultural area, home to over 150 nationalities, and this definitely doesn’t go unnoticed in the personal touches of the buildings as you explore.
You pass some grafitti and street art (very widespread in Amsterdam, and loved, not disapproved of)
And find yourself on the bustling van der Helststraat.
The swarming throughfare of bikes and wanderers beneath the awnings is contrasted by the relaxed cafe dwellers, sitting outside and soaking up the atmosphere.
De Pijp appeals to all ages, but it noticeably attracts hip 20-somethings, who lounge outside any of the cool cafes and eateries, like there aint nothin else to do!
At night the atmosphere is incredible; it is near impossible to find a seat at the end of the week if you turn up after 11, and it feels like you could see anything, meet anyone, on these streets.
Things are equally appealing indoors!
There is Yoghurt Barn, which is like a Froyo place, but with more substantial options.
Or you can shelter from the sun in one of the stylish, chic boutiques
Or just don’t shelter from it!
At the end of Eerste van der Helststraat, you meet the Albert Cyup Market.
This famous market sees over 20,000 visitors a day, and is open every day from 9:00-5:00. It has a wonderful buzz, and is always teeming with both locals and tourists.
Come for your tulips (the Dutch flower), or your cheese (the Dutch diet staple!)
And grab yourself some new pieces for a/w!
Or watch some waffles being made from scratch. It doesn’t matter how messy it looks, stroopwaffel syrup smells delicious!
After all that market excitement, there are many ways to get some respite in De Pijp.
Head to Sarphatipark, the beautiful oasis in the middle of the neighbourhood.
There is a children’s playground, so you see LOTS of these:
This is how the Dutch kids get around, and I adore seeing them. My friend commented last week, as I rode home on the back of his bike clutching him tightly, that Dutch girls can sit on the back of bikes without holding on with total ease. They’ve literally been flying through the air since day one!
You see lots of artistic types reading, maybe penning some poetry, and couples lounging under the trees.
Just outside the park, there is the award-winning Scandanavian Embassy coffee house.
This place is a grail for coffee bucketlisters and generally people who are serious about the beans, as it claims to be the best in the Holland. It has a very cool vibe, with Swedish trance music playing lightly as the waitress bops her head by the machine.
A truly Scandanavian menu too; Granola and goats yoghurt, Danish Rye with poached eggs and Swedish caviar etc. As a coffee drinker nomore, I ordered the Lemon ginger honey infusion but without honey, however the guy for some reason gave it to me anyway. I have felt weaker ever since, as I am still that sensitive to insulin. Very frustrating!
Slightly marred by that experience, I left the Scandanavian Embassy for my friend’s coffeeshop (not coffee house!) of choice: Katsu.
I would say Katsu’s vibe is a mix of Bob Marley, flower power and the pyschadelic, and you see lots of interestin types in here!
So that’s an afternoon in the fantastic De Pijp, but as I mentioned, it is an amazing place to be at night as well as having multiple brunchtime attractions! It feels very intimate, as there are barely any canals around to create a sense of space, and you can imagine what a melting pot of culture it must have been a 100 years ago. It is definitely worth checking out!
That’s all for now,