Amsterdam Neighborhoods Explained

what to see in Amsterdam by district

Amsterdam is broken up into 8 districts or boroughs (stadsdelen), which are further divided into neighborhoods. These neighborhoods may seem confusing to the first-time visitor to Amsterdam, but they're really very helpful when it comes to getting around. Select the district or neighborhood on the map below to learn more about it.

districts map

Centrum | Zuid | West | Oost | Noord | Nieuw-West | Zuidoost | Westpoort


amsterdam neighborhoods of note

The Old Centre

This area around Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt, and through the neighborhood known as De Wallen (Red Light District), is the oldest part of the city.

Centrally located, the Oude Kerk, the city's oldest building, is surrounded by brothels, pubs, restaurants and little shops.


The Nieuwmarkt is dominated by a building known as De Waag, originally a gate in the Medieval city walls but converted into a weighing house after the walls were demolished in the 17th century. The square is located in Amsterdam's Chinatown, next to the De Wallen. There are many cafés and coffeeshops facing the square.

De Wallen   Red Light District

De Wallen, or, as it is known locally, Rossebuurt, is one of the main tourist attractions of Amsterdam. You'll find the Nieuwmarkt with the former city gate De Waag, Old Town Hall (nowadays Hotel The Grand), Oude Kerk, museum Our Lord in the Attic, Chinatown with the Fo Kuang Shan temple, and many one-room apartments rented by prostitutes, sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, and coffeeshops.

Canal Belt   Grachtengordel

A series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten"), dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built.


Tightly packed streets and canals west of the city centre. Once a neighborhood for the working class and emigrants, nowadays almost completely renovated and very popular among artists, students, professionals, young entrepreneurs, and tourists. No other Dutch neighborhood is sung about as much as De Jordaan.

De Plantage

In the 17th century 'The Plantage' (plantation) was a green area outside the city walls where Amsterdammers spent their free time. From 1848 onwards it became one of the most prominent areas of Amsterdam. The Jewish Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue tell about the rich and sad history of this area. Exotic plants can be seen in the Hortis Botanicus (botanical garden) and you can visit wildlife in Artis Zoo.


Amsterdam's most popular nightlife centre. In addition to performance venues, movie theaters, bars, and cafes, there are plenty of good hotels and restaurants at this frenetically busy square and its immediate surroundings.


Until Rembrandt's statue was unveiled in 1876 this square was called Botermarkt (Butter market). For over a century it has been the centre of Amsterdam's nightlife. Here you can find famous hotels, cafés, discos and the renowned Tuschinski theatre. In summer, sitting in one of the many outdoor cafés, you can see the world pass by till way past midnight.


Popular city quarter stretching west of the Singelgracht canal with quite a lot of hotels, restaurants and cafes. The recent opening of cultural and culinary centre De Hallen has given a huge boost to the whole neighborhood.


Built toward the end of the 19th century for those working at the new harbours nearby. Squares were laid out only once the new Housing Act required adjustment of the street plan. Architect De Klerk presented a special design transforming the standard rows of small, bleak dwellings into broad, palatial proletarian brick residences in striking colours. The Amsterdam School style was born.


In this area you can see, taste and smell Amsterdam's and Holland's colonial past. Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Tropics) has exhibitions and performances from all parts of the world all through the year. The famous Amstel Hotel is situated along the Amstel river. At the Dappermarket all cultures of Amsterdam are represented. Want to cook Surinamese, Indian, Moroccan, Turkish, Thai or Chinese? Here you can find everything you need.


Across the water from Centraal Station is Amsterdam-Noord (Amsterdam North), a district that has been little more than a dull dormitory suburb up until now. This is changing, though, with dining and entertainment venues opening up.


One of the 7 boroughs (stadsdelen) of Amsterdam, which is rather an industrial area - with businesses, offices and industry - than a neighborhood. Westpoort, covers the harbour of Amsterdam, and has very few inhabitants. But with one hotel after another opening its doors in former office buildings the whole area is transforming fast to an urban district.

Amsterdam Key Figures



16th, 17th and 18th century buildings








Paintings of Rembrandt




Westpoort Oud-West Jordaan Amsterdam Centrum Old Centre De Pijp Rivierenbuurt Zuidas Amsterdam Oost Amsterdam Noord Grachtengordel Jodenbuurt IJ Waterfront Buitenveldert Amsterdam Zuidoost Amsterdam Nieuw-West Amsterdam West oud-zuid