The eastern side of Amsterdam has rich industrial and working-class heritage. The docks around Zeeburg once attracted tradesmen, warehouses, and everything needed to support them – in turn drawing a large number of immigrants. Such ethnic diversity continues to this day; despite extensive regeneration over the past 10 years, the area remains a heady mix of old and new, with achingly hips bars and boutiques brushing shoulders with Turkish greengrocers and spit ’n’ sawdust shawarma joints. New developments and businesses spring up almost weekly, adding vibrancy to Amsterdam’s new epicentre of cool.
The industrial, shabby-chic interior and ever-changing daily menu of modern Dutch cuisine have made the ‘Wild Boar’ a trendy (and increasingly popular) haunt in Oost. The idea is simple – choose three or four courses, order some wine, and let the kitchen work its magic with fresh, seasonal produce (do try the boar though). And if something a little lighter is required, head next door to their Eetbar, where they offer smaller, individual plates at delightful prices.
Charles Bukowski loved his booze. ‘There is always a reason to drink!’ was his ethos, and Bar Bukowski, a hip corner hangout, celebrates his love of alcohol, literature and partying. It’s not the biggest space, but at night it draws a stylish crowd intent on having a good time, with DJs ramping up the atmosphere most evenings. Definitely a place to be seen.
It seems fitting that the Tropenmuseum, a huge ethnographic museum, should be located in multicultural Oost. The Tropen – housed in one of the city’s most beautiful and impressive buildings – has eight permanent exhibitions and hosts a multitude of smaller, temporary displays of visual and contemporary art.
Billed as an ‘unconventional hotel’, the Lloyd is certainly out of the ordinary. This historic building has served as a shelter for Jewish refugees, a prison and a juvenile detention centre – and is now a 117-room boutique hotel where no two rooms are alike. From budget twins to suites with beds that sleep seven, this is a unique place that’s the perfect base for the well-travelled and style-conscious.
If you only do one thing…
Have a wander along Javastraat – no street sums up the character and personality of Oost quite like it. Cocktail bars and cool boutiques jostle for space with greengrocers, Turkish bakeries and bargain stores selling all manner of household goods and bric-à-brac. It’s where modern meets traditional, and a fascinating sight to behold.