architecture

IJburg has much to offer for architecture lovers. Barcelona even got inspired by IJburg when it designed its own enlargement El Prat Nord (Source: Het Parool), a district that is build by Dutch architects Claus en Kaan.

IJburg consists of six artificial islands. The two main islands are Steigereiland and Haveneiland. Although the combination of water, air and urban vibe makes all architecture at IJburg worth seeing, there are some spots you shouldn't miss! You can click on the IJburg map, to find out where these places are. The numbers here refer to the numbers on the map.

When you take tram 26 to IJburg, Zeeburgereiland is the first island you see ... or actually hardly see... because it is still under construction. This island used to house the Amsterdam sewage installation, but is now used for building new houses.  Opening end of November 2010, you will find cultural village Waaidorp on this island, with kids restaurant Praq.

You will reach IJburg over a white bridge, officially called EnneĆ¼s Heermabrug after a politician, but popularly called the 'bh-brug', this means bra-bridge, which refers to it form.

Steigereiland is called after its many piers (1). You find Steigereiland South at the south west side of the tram line, where many dwellers got the chance to design their houses themselves.

This yields very special street views, especially in these streets: J.O. Vaillantlaan, Edmond Halleyaan and James Bradleystraat (3). Interior design centre Design020 at the Pedro de Medinalaan 89 is worth a visit because of its products, but also because of the building, the views on the water and the view from the roof terrace (1). Interior design shop Designlabels Amsterdam at Pedro de Medinalaan 53 is next to Design020.



The Vrijburcht, which means free castle, is a collective housing project, with a public bar and a theater (2).

At Steigereiland North at the north east side of the tram line (4), its all about water and air. From the IJburglaan you mainly see the 200 meters long Kadegebouw, which means waterside building, and which belongs to Waterbuurt West.

At the front side, the building looks like a wall, from the back side it looks like a cruise ship. In the evening and at night, the building is covered in blue light. In this building you find Italian restaurant Il Lago and its deli shop Dal Magazino.

Through the gateways in this building, you can reach the four piers, that lead to floating homes. Along the Haringbuisdijk, the stilt houses are built above the water. These floating homes are rare by now, but will be built much more in the future.

At the Bringantijnkade, the floating homes are all unique. The large dwelling blocks at the Brigantijnkade are a modern interpretation of the barracks of the fire brigade. From the Brigantijnkade you can find the piers to the floating homes.

Paralel to this street you find Windjammerdijk, that has water side houses with huge windows and a view on the dike houses of fishermen's village Durgerdam.

Durgerdam once looked out over the open water, but now IJburg.


Haveneiland is called after its harbor. All the building blocks on this islands have numbers. These numbers are not visible in streets, but everybody who lives at IJburg knows these numbers. When you enter Haveneiland, you'll see large buildings on the left. The facades of these buildings are a modern version of the warehouse you can find in Amsterdam's old harbor districts (5).The first building on the left, with the clock, is Blok 1.

The first building on the right is Blok 4, which was the first building finished on Haveneiland, with a restaurant with the same name Blok 4. The building looks like a wall on the front side, but spectacular at the back side - and so does the view. Many more buildings on the IJburglaan look like a wall on the front side and very special on the other side.

The Bert Haanstrakade is large boulevard, where you feel like walking by the sea. There is a huge red couch, from which you can enjoy the view on the dike houses of fishermen's village Durgerdam and the wideness of the IJmeer, the Lake IJ (5). The Lake IJ used to be the Zuiderzee (southern sea), buth this former sea is a lake now, since it is separated from the sea by a dike.


Blok 14 is spectacular building, which hovers above the water of a canal. Under the building is the terrace of Greek restaurant I-grec situated. Near this block is a Johan Cruijff Court, a sports court, where Daguerrestraat crosses Maria Austriastraat (7). Joris Ivensplein is IJburg's mall (6).

From Diemerparklaan at Haveneiland you can reach the island Grote Rieteiland (9), with the Zwanenbloemlaan and Mattenbiesstraat, some beautiful lanes, with housing blocks as well as free-standing houses.

When you walk the bridge to Grote Rieteiland, look aside over the water of the Groene Tunnel (green tunnel), the multi layered architecture is beautiful. Where Diemerparklaan crosses Mattenbiesstraat, you see a large white house. At night this house is covered in light with all kinds different colors.

The island Kleine Rieteiland is IJburg's gold coast, this is where the rich and famous live: actors, musicians and other well to do. From this island you can reach Diemerpark, a large park.

The neighbourhood between Nico Jessekade and Jan Vrijmanstraat looks like a combination of an old fishermen’s village and the Jordaan in the city center, but in a modern style (10). From Fritz Dietrich Kahlenbergstraat at Haveneiland you can reach the island Rieteiland Oost, an island with exclusive houses and from spring 2011 also a large tennis club.

At the south east side of Haveneiland, you find two nice buildings (11). At the end of the Emmy Andriessestraat, next to a lock-gate, you find a building with many terraces, called  Terrazze. Close to this building, at the end of the Nico Jessekade and Jan Vrijmanstraat, at the south east corner of Haveneiland, is Vrijmans Eind, called after the street, but it also means free men's end, probably referring to the wide view over the water.

Blok 51a is called the Grote Wijzer, which means the big hand (12). This is the block with the clock at the Emmy Andriessestraat, next to the Theo van Goghpark (a park). This block won the Nieuwbouwprijs: the price for the most beautiful new housing estate in Amsterdam in 2009. At the other side of the park is Blok 52, where the windows seem to reflect the water.

The center of Haveneiland is its modern harbor area filled with boats (14). The waterside around the harbor is called Krijn Taconiskade.

You can find restaurants N.A.P.Pannenkoek en zoDok48 and The Lighthouse, all with a terrace. The light in the harbor is very special and different at each moment of the day. All buildings in the harbor have huge windows with a spectacular view on the harbor. Behind the big windows of The Lighthouse you can watch the sun go down in the Lake IJ. Three large traditional Dutch sailing ships have their home in the harbor, these ships belong to the Muider Compagnie.

In summer, the lock-gate at the northern side of the harbor opens very often and from the terrace at N.A.P. you can see boats entering the harbor.

Blok 36, at the Willy Mullenskade, looks like a large boat house. The color of light changes all the time. Het Blauwe Huis is literally a blue house in the middle of Blok 35, also at the Willy Mullenskade. This use to be an art project, but is sold now.

Many of the bloks at the Pampuslaan (15) look a like the buildings in sea areas. Blok 47 for example, at the corner with Eva Besnyostraat, reminds me of the buidlings found in Scheveningen.

The most remarkable building on Haveneiland might be the Witte Kaap, which means white cape (16). This snow-white building is a landmark at the north east side of Haveneiland. Newspaper Het Parool compared it with the Flat Iron Building in New York, but it is hard to compare - you should just see it.

Next to the Witte Kaap is Blijburg beach, with it's beach club.

IJburg has many courtyards, 'hofjes', like the historic center of Amsterdam. Alexandrine Tinnehof is a cute courtyard and can be reached from the Talbotstraat (close to IJburglaan). Nicolaas Hennemanhof can be reached from the Daguerrestraat  (close to IJburglaan). Cor van Weelehof is a large courtyard, which you can reach from the Kiekstraat  (close to IJburglaan).

Paul Schuitemahof is a courtyard below ground floor, you can enter it from the Talbotstraat or Diemerparklaan (close to Bert Haanstrakade). Peter Wotkehof has Scandinavian wooden houses in several colours, it can be reached from the Talbotstraat (close to Bert Haanstrakade). 

You can find many pictures of IJburg on Flickr, which has a special IJburg group. Also, you should visit website IJburgcorners, a foto project about IJburg.

Each district at IJburg has it own street names, Wikipedia gives an overview. Street names at Haveneiland refer to photographers, film makers, journalists and actors. At Kleine Rieteiland, Grote Rieteiland and Rieteiland Oost, the streets are named after plants and flowers. At Steigereiland, the names refer to shipping history. At  Steigereiland North, the streets are named after ships, at Steigereiland South they are named after captains, astronomers, mathematicians and cartographers.

From IJburg, you can see fort island Pampus. Some centuries ago, ships had to pass Pampus to go to Amsterdam. Ships were often caught in the shallow channel and then literally were stuck at Pampus. From the port of IJburg you can make trips to Pampus.