Exploring Amsterdam’s De Pijp
One of Amsterdam’s most popular neighbourhoods, De Pijp – meaning “The Pipe” in Dutch – is home to an eclectic mix of cultures, ethnicities and nationalities. Rumour has it this diverse area was so named for either its charming long and narrow streets or the well-known local gas company that shares its name. (Of course, there could be a third reason – but we’ll leave that guesswork up to you.)
De Pijp sits just south of the city’s centre and is part of the area known as Amsterdam-Zuid, which translates to Amsterdam South. You’ll find this cosmopolitan and vibrant neighbourhood just a short tram ride south of Centraal Station. Known for its artsy, bohemian culture – and nicknamed the Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin) – many of the street names here are named for Dutch artists (think Vincent van Gogh and others).
Once upon a time, more than a century ago, the area promised cheap rent and a quiet alternative to the lively central Amsterdam area. The area flourished with artists, students, the young, the old as well as scores of newcomers to the country. Nowadays, De Pijp is considered part of the city’s vibrant bohemian district, overflowing with a myriad of cultures. Over the past 100 years or so, it has evolved from a working-class area originally built to help ease the Jordaan District’s overpopulation in the 1900s to one of the city’s priciest neighbourhoods.
Similar to the cosmopolitan and neighbouring Jordaan area, De Pijp is one of Amsterdam’s most dynamic and vibrant areas with plenty of lively bars, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants and shops.
Take an easy stroll up Albert Cuypstraat and Ferdinand Bolstraat – two main streets in “The Pipe” – and you’re sure to come across more than a handful of authentic, multicultural restaurants (Moroccan, Surinamese and Syrian… to name just a few). While typical Amsterdam pubs area also found in nearly every corner, they’re just at home surrounded by Muslim butchers as well as Indian, Indonesian, Spanish and Turkish delis and grocery stores.
De Pijp is also home to the Netherland’s most famous market and arguably the largest outdoor daily market in Europe: The Albert Cuypmarkt – home to more than 300 stalls offering everything from fruit and vegetables, cheese, fish and spices to clothing, make-up, household items and more.
Named after Albert Cuyp, a painter from the 17th century, the market is open six days a week, attracts thousands of people and boasts some of the lowest prices in Amsterdam.
While here, be sure to visit the food vendors who are sure to tempt you with their handmade herring sandwiches, egg rolls, donuts and caramel-syrup-filled stroopwafels. This true Dutch specialty is made fresh here daily – and is an important part of any visit to Amsterdam.
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Here, it’s easy to lose yourself among the colourful stalls, shops and cafés as well as the beautifully-landscaped gardens of Sarphatipark, a few minutes walk from the Albert Cuypmarkt.
Despite its size, the Sarphatipark is an impressive, rectangular green space that stretches for two blocks and is named for Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866), a Jewish doctor and philanthropist whose 19th century monument graces the park. It’s also the perfect place for a quiet stroll before hitting the vibrant streets of De Pijp and the always-bustling Albert Cuypmarkt.