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People walk through Ons Genoegen garden.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Spaarndammerbuurt

People walk through Ons Genoegen garden.
  • By Tim Igor Snijders
  • Photos by Rene Koster
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Spaarndammerbuurt
Amsterdam
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When you think of Amsterdam and architecture, you think of its iconic canal houses. But the 20th-century architecture in Spaarndammerbuurt is no less impressive and has a story to tell. This is the birthplace of the first social housing project in the city, meant to lift workers from poverty and built in the iconic, expressionist style of the Amsterdam School. Wander among these blocks — “little palaces of the worker” — and you’ll see the vision of community and egalitarianism that the architects had in mind back then.

Meet Tim Igor Snijders

Tim is from Leiden, Netherlands, but moved to Amsterdam to study history in 2012 and never looked back. He’s quietly wondering how many years you have to live here to call yourself an Amsterdammer. Either way, it’s home.

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Spaarndammerbuurt

Zaanhof complex
This courtyard, part of the first social housing project of the city, is known for its atypical pointed gables and yellow details. Look for the plaque that commemorates the end of World War II: “Against the backdrop of neighborhood schoolchildren singing, the Dutch flag was hoisted once again.”
Zaanhof, 1013 XV Amsterdam
Cafe de Walvis
This cafe in the neighborhood’s main street is where you can walk in for lunch or dinner after roaming the block. Look for the fish-stick sandwich as you take a seat in one of the vintage classroom chairs, a staple of Amsterdam restaurant culture.
Cafe de Walvis , Spaarndammerstraat 516, 1013 SZ Amsterdam
Museum Het Schip
A museum on the world-renowned Amsterdam School of Architecture, Het Schip is part of a 1910s social housing project. The collection includes everything from furniture to clocks in the stunning, expressionist style.
Museum Het Schip, Oostzaanstraat 45, 1013 WG Amsterdam
Westerpark
This big, beautiful park is next to the Westergas grounds, a former factory complex now filled with bars and restaurants. You can lie down on the big lawn or walk into the park to hear the city noise slowly disappear.
Westerpark, Haarlemmerweg 4, 1013 RW Amsterdam
Ons Genoegen
Even Amsterdammers have a hard time believing that this idyllic community farm is located within the busy Westerpark neighborhood. Ons Genoegen might be one of the last places in the city where 5 euros will buy you coffee and a sandwich. Staff are volunteers and clients of a local nonprofit.
Ons Genoegen, Spaarndammerdijk 319, 1014 AA Amsterdam
Rainarai
Located on the quieter edge of the lively Westergas terrain, this Algerian restaurant serves “nomadic cuisine.” Its specialty: a full table of mezze. Rainarai’s colorful Algerian founder also runs a delicatessen on Prinsengracht, in the heart of the Canal Ring.
Rainarai, Polonceaukade 40, 1014 DA Amsterdam
TonTon Club West
At TonTon, you can play Japanese arcade games, drink beers and have dinner — not necessarily in that order. TonTon has another location in the red light district and an air hockey club in the West called Puck, if that’s your game of choice.
TonTon Club West, Polonceaukade 27, 1014 DA Amsterdam
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Tim Igor Snijders
Tim is from Leiden, Netherlands, but moved to Amsterdam to study history in 2012 and never looked back. He’s quietly wondering how many years you have to live here to call yourself an Amsterdammer. Either way, it’s home.
Rene Koster
Rene Koster is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in Amsterdam.

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