With no shared borders with Amsterdam, Zuidoost is a separate entity. It was built up in the 1960s and 70s as a residential utopia of sorts with apartment blocks separated by tracts of green. Also known as ‘De Bijlmer’, Zuidoost is a vibrant multicultural district renowned as the home of the Ajax football team.
Zuidoost lies southeast of the A10 ring motorway and west of the Weespertrekvaart waterway which connects with the Amsterdam-Rijn canal. To the north are the town of Diemen and its forest Diemerbos. To the south lies Nieuw Utrechtseweg (A2 motorway) and open fields, beyond which is the Amstel River-side town of Oudekerk aan de Amstel. The A9 motorway runs through Bijlmer from Haarlem and connects to the A1 for Eastern destinations.
The architecturally-acclaimed Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA (Asb) railway station provides easy access to Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands. It serves the Bijlmermeer neighborhood.
- From Schiphol Airport. Schiphol station is located directly beneath the airport. From the arrivals hall walk through Schiphol Plaza to reach the train station.
- Trains run to and from the Randstad (Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht region)
Special (through) trains also run throughout the night commencing after the last train of the day and are available until the early morning. These trains run once an hour and the fare for the night train is the same as that for the day train.
Local trains on the Amsterdam - Utrecht and Amsterdam - Gouda - Rotterdam routes also stop at the new Holendrecht station outside the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC) hospital, about 2 km south of Bijlmer ArenA.
Metro lines 50, 53 and 54 link the Bijlmer to the rest of Amsterdam.
- Metro line runs from Isolatorweg to Gein along the same route as 54 and connects Bijlmer to the south and west of Amsterdam.
- Metro line runs from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Gaasperplas and services the north and east of Bijlmer.
- Metro line also from Amsterdam Centraal Station, runs parallel to the railway along the west of Bijlmer, then turns east to Gein in the south.
The two bigger stations of Zuidoost, both on lines 50 and 54, 1 and 2 are also train stations serviced with Sprinter services (Bijlmer ArenA and Holendrecht) and Intercity services (Bijlmer ArenA). The latter, Bijlmer ArenA may be particularly crowded during matches of local football club Ajax or the Dutch national team.
- 1 Bijlmermonument, Nellesteinplad, Amsterdam-Zuidoost ( ). In 1992 a Boeing 747F jumbo freighter crashed into two flats in the Bijlmer. This is a monument to the people on the ground who died or lost their houses in the disaster. 39 residents are known to have died, but due to many unregistered illegal immigrants living in the cellars of the flats at the time, which were completely incinerated in the crash, it is possible that more died than could be accounted for. The monument was designed by architect Herman Hertzberger and is built around a tree that survived the crash, with the names of the known victims and mosaics laid by survivors. The foundations of the destroyed buildings are also still visible.
- 2 Amsterdam ArenA, ArenA Boulevard 1 ( ), ☏ . The Amsterdam ArenA, built from 1993 to 1996, has a capacity of 51,628 seats during sports matches. It's the home ground of AFC Ajax, who play in Eredivisie, the top tier of football in the Netherlands; the Dutch national team also play here. The arena can hold up to 68,000 people during concerts and regularly holds popular music events. Ajax offers multiple daily tours through the Amsterdam ArenA stadium.
- 1 AFAS Live (Heineken Music Hall), ArenA Boulevard 590 ( ), ☏ (Dutch phones only). Large-scale music venue with plenty of international stars having performed here. More "headliners" are booked in Amsterdam for the Heineken Music Hall than any other venue. Best reached by train or metro (station Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA).
- 2 Pathé Arena, ArenA Boulevard 600 ( ), ☏ . One of the largest cinemas of the country, and it also has IMAX movies.
- 3 Gaasperpark ( ). Recreational area and nature reserve with a lake and water-sports centre. The centre offers facilities for canoeing, swimming, rowing, sailing and a surfing school. Explore the park (5 km around the lake) by foot, bicycle or horseback. On the edge of the park is the Gaasper Camping campsite.
- 4 Kraaiennest Outdoor Gym, Kleiburg 52 ( ). 24 hrs. A well-equipped outdoor gym with permanent workout stations, made out of green plastic & metal. If you spend some time in Bijlmer, this is a good spot to workout for free during daytime, and talk to locals. Just beside the running tracks and tennis court which you will see from the metro station and the Kraaiennest Winkelcentrum. Free.
- Skateboarding. There are a plethora of spots to go skateboarding in Amsterdam Zuidoost. The biggest attraction is the new skatepark in Bijlmer Park with two large bowls.
- Kwaku Summer Festival: 13 July – 4 August 2019. Every summer for four weekends in July and August, the Kwaku summer festival is held in the Nelson Mandela Park. What started as a football competition for Surinamese youngsters who couldn't afford to go on holiday has grown into a large festival celebrating the cultural melting pot that the Bijlmer has become, with ethnic food, drink and music, workshops, childrens' activities - as well as the original friendly football contests. Day tickets cost €7. (date needs updating)
As this is a new part of Amsterdam, shopping malls are generally modern and large. From Bijlmer Station, west of the railroad you can find large retail stores, such as IKEA, MediaMarkt and others. The area east of the railroad could be called "downtown Bijlmer", where you can find a more relaxed atmosphere with smaller stores and quick dining facilities.
- Kam Yin Chinees Surinaams restaurant, Bijlmerplein 525, ☏ . Surinamese and Indonesian cuisine. Very good Moksi Meti (marinated pork and sausages with noodles). Popular with the locals. Take-away. €7.
- 1 Lebkov & Sons, Hoekenrode 6, 1102BR Amsterdam, ☏ . Sandwich bar. Mainly caters to office workers in surrounding buildings. Try the hummus & sun-dried tomato. €3.
- 2 , Karspeldreef, 1102BX Amsterdam (no house number visible, look for the shack with prominent Ghanaian flag in front of the Hogevecht flats). Possibly the only Ghanaian snack bar in Amsterdam. Specializes in Kenkey (a sort of sourdough dumpling), but has a wide range of West-African cuisine at very reasonable prices. €7.
- 3 Marmaris Grill & Pizza, Hoekenrode 5, 1102BR Amsterdam, ☏ . Relatively up-market Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant in fancy new building opposite station Bijlmer-Arena. Great food, presentation and service - definitely worth the price. On cold days, avoid sitting anywhere near the door as it frequently fails to close properly. €14.
- 4 Oma Ietje, Heesterveld 3, 1102SB Amsterdam, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa-W 08:00–17:00, Th F 08:00-20:00. Inevitably, hipsters have even found their way into the Bijlmer. Part-funded by crowdfunding. Very worthy 'Swedish style' coffee house. Exquisite coffees, biological lemonade and delicious cakes. Also showcases art by local artists. Worth a visit, particularly if you're staying at the A&O Hostel just on the other side of the Metro line. €5.
In part due to its bad reputation Bijlmer suffers from an acute shortage of legal drinking premises. There are few bars and many close early (18:00). Thirsty locals either drink in the park, or in the past at various social clubs in the basements of the huge flats - where theoretically no alcohol may be drunk, but in practice it was brought, bought and sold. As these places were illegal and uncontrolled, tended to be in the worst parts of the neighbourhood, and were frequently the scene of drug dealing and violence, tourists should steer well clear of them unless in the company of a trusted local. However things are changing, with less illegal dives and more legal alternatives.
Local bars are very lively and colourful places and have a quite different feel to anything in the center of town or indeed anywhere else in the Netherlands, and definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.
- 1 Café 't Poortje, Bijlmerplein 730, 1102MB Amsterdam. 12:00-18:00. Something of a traditional Dutch 'brown cafe' but with a Caribbean twist. Closes early, so mainly functions as watering hole on the way in or out of the shopping center. Frequented by Ajax supporters.
- 2 De Proefzaak, Hullenbergweg 6, 1101BL Amsterdam, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu 11:30-17:00, W 11:30-22:00, Th-Sa 11:30-00:00, closed Su M. In 2015 the first monastery - the Kleiklooster - opened in the Bijlmer, and as good monks do, they started brewing beer. Good beer, if somewhat eccentric. This is their tasting hall where you can sample the current Kleiburg brews. Avoid late afternoons, particularly on Fridays, as it can get very busy when nearby offices empty. Clientele consists more of office workers and tourists than locals. You can frequently spot a tall grey-haired man with large beard - the monastery's preacher - buzzing around.
- 1 Gaasper Camping Amsterdam, Loosdrecht 7, 1108 AZ ( ). Check-in: 11:00. The capital's largest campsite. Off-season from €16.25, from €18.50 during high-season.
- 2 A&O Amsterdam Zuidoost, Hogehilweg 22 ( ), ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 10:00. Immediately adjacent to metro station Bullewijk, 5 min walk from train station Amsterdam Bijlmer-Arena. Free wifi. Free parking. No curfew. This hostel is the largest in Amsterdam, opened early 2015 in a completely renovated former office building. New, clean and very popular, is spearheading the revitalization of this part of town. Location is logistically perfect, less than 20 min door-to-door from Schiphol airport, near major train station and the junction between major motorways leading into Amsterdam, and with an excellent metro connection into the center of town. Only drawback is that there isn't much to do in the immediate vicinity and that the metro doesn't run at night. Fortunately Amsterdam night buses do run every night and stop at Amsterdam Bijlmer-Arena (5 min walk away). €24.
- 3 Campanile Hotel Amsterdam, Loosdrechtdreef 3 ( ). Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 3-star hotel. Free Wi-Fi. Free parking.
- 4 Tulip Inn Amsterdam Riverside, Provincialeweg 38, 1108 AB ( ), ☏ . 3-star hotel. Free parking. 8 conference rooms. Restaurant. Bar open till 01:00. €78.
As this used to be the most crime-ridden area of Amsterdam (and the Netherlands as a whole), it is important to always be cautious and stay within the well-populated areas. Do not walk around alone in the dark and avoid groups of youth standing around. Generally speaking, the area around Bijlmer ArenA station and along the Bijlmerdreef is quite safe, while the further off you get from there, the unsafer it gets. The area around Holendrecht is probably the worst. It must be said though that the last 20 years crime has lessened considerably and the area can be visited safely during daylight.
Non-residents who never actually go there will tell horror-stories about Bijlmer, but not only are they generally out-of-date, they also need some perspective: even though populist Dutch politicians claim otherwise, the Netherlands is one of the safest countries on earth, and Amsterdam one of the safest large cities. If you live in a city, chances are that it has neighbourhoods much less safe than Bijlmer. Even within Amsterdam there are much worse neighbourhoods, such as the western suburbs of Slotermeer/Slotervaart.
Objectively Bijlmer may even be safer for tourists than the center of town - pickpocketing is by far the commonest crime tourists suffer in Amsterdam and it is endemic in the center and on the trains to and from the airport. As there are almost no tourists in Bijlmer, there are hardly any pick-pockets either!
|Routes through Zuidoost|
|West ← Oost ←||W E||→ END|
|Binnenstad ← Oost ←||N S||→ END|
|Binnenstad ← Oost ←||N S||→ END|