Oost (meaning “East”) is perhaps Amsterdam’s most varied and unique neighborhood. The locals have fully embraced this cultural melting pot, and rightly so! Hip and trendy blend seamlessly with classic and historic here—on the Javastraat, you’ll find a growing number of trendy coffee houses, boutiques, and restaurants, interspersed with funky, multicultural shops.

On this easy stroll, you’ll experience the diversity of this neighborhood’s rich history, as evidenced by everything from traditional Amsterdam markets, to a burgeoning food scene featuring cuisine from around the world. This neighborhood is especially great for food and shopping, whether you’re craving sit-down dinners and couture or picnics and vintage threads. If you have a little extra time, Amsterdam’s zoo (Artis) is also in this neighborhood, making this walk an excellent choice if you’re traveling with kids.

a street lined with bicycles in Amsterdam

Take an easy stroll through this Amsterdam neighborhood and explore the history and culture of the area along the way. Photo © adisa/iStock.

Follow along with this route for a taste of the best that Oost has to offer!

To fuel up for the day, start with breakfast at the Drovers Dog (Eerste Atjehstraat 62, t: 020 3703784, open Monday–Tuesday 8am–6pm, Wednesday–Friday 8am–10pm, Saturday 9am–10pm, Sunday 9am–9pm), a trendy Australian eatery with a super friendly, casual vibe. Australians know how to do breakfast right; “bog in” to the Drover’s full brekkie (a combo platter of fried eggs, sausages, tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms).

From Drovers, head over to the Javastraat to check out the Java Bookshop (Javastraat 145, t: 020 4634993, open Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm, Saturday 10am–5pm), one of the neighborhood’s hidden gems. Take your time and browse the wide selection of Dutch and English world literature, cook books, and children’s books, housed in a quaint, homey atmosphere. The enthusiastic staff are happy to help you make up your mind over a cup of coffee and a tasty treat.

girl walking on the sidewalk beside the brick buildings of berlageblokken in Amsterdam

The buildings of Berlageblokken are on the register of historical buildings.

Be sure to also check out the nearby Berlageblokken (Balistraat, Benkoelenstraat, Javaplein, Javastraat, Langkatstraat. Not open to the public.), a collection of apartments designed by prominent Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage and built to accommodate blue-collar workers. The apartments underwent substantial renovation in the 1960s, but are still listed on the register of historical buildings.

Over on Javaplein, check out the Badhuis Javaplein (Javaplein 21, t: 020 6651226, open Monday–Thursday 10am–1am, Friday–Sunday 10am–3am), one of the last bathhouses to be built in Amsterdam, in 1942. The building has housed everything from a secondhand shop to a Hindu temple, but nowadays, beer taps have replaced shower heads, and the bathhouse serves as a meeting place and watering hole for neighborhood.

Tucked behind the bathhouse, you’ll find Jansen Vintage (Javaplein 31, t: 06 10125018, open Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm), and excellent vintage shop that immediately transports you to the ‘50s and ‘60s. Everything in here has been carefully curated, from lamps and glassware, to larger furniture pieces from both famous and obscure brands alike. If you’re hungry, check out the restaurant next door, Wilde Zwijnen (“Wild Boar”) (Javaplein 23, t: 020 4633043, open Monday–Thursday 6pm–10:15pm, Friday–Sunday noon–4pm & 6pm–10:15pm). The atmospheric restaurant specializes in seasonal dishes made with local Dutch produce—think mushrooms deep fried in beer batter and rich, hearty venison stew. They take reservations, so feel free to stop by and reserve a table for dinner later on.

Turn down Borneostraat to Amsterdam East’s hotspot, Studio/K (Timorplein 62, t: 020 6920422, open Sunday–Thursday 11am–1am, Friday–Saturday 11am–3am): a unique space where film, theater, music, food, and drink come together in an old red brick venue that attracts a colorful clientele.

Head back over to the Javastraat and check out a couple of the shops. Div. Herenkabinet (Javastraat 8, t: 020 6944084, open Monday–Friday 10am–6:30pm, Saturday 10am–6pm, Sunday noon–6pm) is a stylish, uncluttered men’s boutique that offers everything from Japanese jeans to Swiss knives and Swedish backpacks. The boutique Hartje Oost (Javastraat 23, t: 020 2332137, open Thursday–Friday 9am–7pm, Saturday 9am–6:30pm, Sunday 10am–6:30pm) is one of the latest additions to the Javastraat, offering excellent coffee, fashionable clothing, fresh sandwiches, and handmade jewelry. The owners focus on products that tell a story—everything here is ecological, sustainable, fair trade, local, and wholly original.

women walking through market stalls in Amsterdam

The Dappermarkt is host to a variety of international wares.

Nearby you’ll find the Dappermarkt (Monday–Saturday 10am–5pm), a fun street market with a plethora of international wares that’s been named the best in the Netherlands several times. Follow along the same road, and you’ll find We Are Vintage (Rerste van Swindenstraat 43, t: 06 26945325, open Monday–Wednesday & Friday–Saturday 11am–7pm, Thursday 11am–8pm, Sunday noon–6pm). This trendy shop is a bargain-hunter’s dream; they offer quality secondhand clothing (suede and leather lovers, you’re especially in luck), all available for purchase by the kilo rather than individually priced.

If your stomach’s starting to growl, walk over to Roopram Roti (Eerste van Swindenstraat 4, t: 020 6932902, open Tuesday–Saturday noon–9pm, Sunday 1pm–9pm). The casual lunch spot makes some of the best roti in town (a Surinamese pancake packed with a delicious, spicy filling). As an added bonus, you take your lunch to go, and enjoy a picnic in the Oosterpark just around the corner.

At the edge of the park sits the Tropenmuseum (Linnaeusstraat 2, t: 020 5688200, open Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm, entrance €12.50), a unique museum housed in a stunning building, where visitors can wander through lifelike replicas of dwellings, rooms, and shops from countries around the world. Among other things, the enormous collection includes a door from Marrakech, an altar from Mexico, and African musical instruments. If you’re here with the kids (or not!), be sure to check out the films and interactive exhibits, which often feature fun and exciting activities geared towards children.

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