Western Islands

About a dozen blocks west of Centraal Station are three somewhat off-the-beaten-track islands—known in Dutch as De Westelijke Eilanden—that were built on landfill back in the 17th century, as a sort of warehouse district. The waterfront neighborhood, with many boats and houseboats, is a lovely area for strolling. From the smallest island, Prinseneiland, follow the Galgenstraat (Gallows Street), which once had views of the bodies (or bits of bodies—sometimes the heads were placed elsewhere) that had been placed on the town's gallows across the water. Bickerseiland is a jumble of modern housing, boats, and a farm with bunnies. Across the white wooden drawbridge is the third island, Realeneiland, known for its row of 17th-century merchant's houses with biblical gables on Zandhoek. Just across from the main canal that borders the Western Islands is the lovely Westerpark, as well as cafés, clubs, galleries, and art-house cinema Het Ketelhuis.

POINTS OF INTEREST

Het West-Indisch Huis

The former headquarters of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) has major historical significance. Although not as sovereign as the…

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Haarlemmerpoort

This Neoclassical gatehouse, rebuilt in 1840, was one of four entrances to Amsterdam until the mid-18th century. It has been…

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Westerpark

Just beyond the Jordaan and across from the main canal that borders the Western Islands is one of contemporary Amsterdam's…

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