Compared to cities like Paris and London, Amsterdam is a very small city with only 858,100 inhabitants. It is only 13 km (9 miles) from the extreme west to the extreme east of Amsterdam.
Travelling times to the city centre listed below are mostly by bike.
The city centre consists of the historic city, including the Jordaan:
- The old city centre is quite small, and suitable student rooms tend to be expensive in this area. In the city centre, the university reserves rooms at student residences on the Prinsengracht, Prins Hendrikkade, Plantage Muidergracht, Sarphatistraat, Hoogte Kadijk, Westermarkt and Weesperstraat.
- The Roeterseiland Campus houses students and staff from several faculties. CREA, the cultural organization of the University of Amsterdam, is also located here.
- The Jordaan is a pretty area with small houses, quaint little shops and bars, and a very cosy atmosphere. It has become highly gentrified in recent years, so this is not the place to look for cheap accommodation.
Amsterdam's southern area consists of the following neighbourhoods:
- Oud Zuid is the old area of the southern part of Amsterdam; an affluent, generally quiet neighbourhood, and not a typical student area. It is 5-10 minutes from the city centre.
- De Pijp was previous a relatively cheap neighbourhood, but is becoming increasingly trendy and gentrified. There are a lot of students living in this area and it is 5-10 minutes from the centre.
- Nieuw Zuid (New South) is an affluent and generally quiet neighbourhood, 10-20 minutes from the centre.
- Buitenveldert is 20-30 minutes from the city centre. The other Amsterdam University, the VU, is located here.
- Amstelveen is an affluent suburb of Amsterdam, about 30 minutes from the city centre.
The western part of Amsterdam is divided into the following neighbourhoods:
- Oud-West (Old West) is a mid-price neighbourhood. There is a high percentage of students living in this area. It is 5-10 minutes from the centre.
- Bos en Lommer can be a good place to find affordable rooms. It is 15-20 minutes from the centre.
- Overtoomseveld is a mixed area, 15-20 minutes from the centre.
Slotervaart is a quiet neighbourhood. The student residences Meer en Vaart and Erasmusgracht are located in this neighbourhood. It is 30 minutes from the centre.
- Temporary student accommodation has been created at the Houthavens area, next to river IJ in the Westerpark neighbourhood of Amsterdam. Students are housed in special pre-fab student buildings. These student buildings are situated on Stavangerweg and Gevleweg. There is an urban beach, Strand West, with a café and a restaurant which is open all year round.
The neighbourhoods Oud-West, Bos en Lommer and the temporary student accommodation at Houthavens are nearby a park called Westerpark. Besides traditional park facilities such as a tennis court, this park contains industrial remains of a former gas factory, the Westergasfabriek. The factory dates back to 1885 and now houses various cultural facilities including a cinema and several cafés and restaurants. Its buildings are used as venues for parties and plays throughout the year.
The Old East area is an accessible neighbourhood with lots of student life. It is 5-10 minutes from the centre and consists of the following neighbourhoods:
- East of the centre, there is a small neighbourhood where the Bijltjespad/Kattenburg flats, reserved by the university to rent to international students, are situated in. It is also near the Scheepvaartmuseum (naval museum). This area is 5-10 minutes from the centre.
- Near train station Amsterdam Amstel, there is student accommodation reserved by the University. This building is called ‘de Eenhoorn’, and is situated at the Eerste Ringdijk.
- Watergraafsmeer is located south of the "Old East". It is a quiet middle-class neighbourhood and is 20 minutes from the centre. Here, Amsterdam Science Park, home to the UvA Faculty of Science, is located. DUWO issued the construction of student accommodation at the Science Park, which contains of around 1000 student rooms in a campus-like environment. Science Park has its own train station.
- Zeeburg is part of the Eastern district and located next to the IJ Lake. It consists of both the Eastern Harbour as well as IJburg. The eastern harbour was formerly used as the harbour of Amsterdam and is a relatively new neighbourhood 15-20 minutes from the centre. Student Residence Zuiderzeeweg is located in Zeeburg, near the IJburg district.
IJburg is a quiet residential neighbourhood and consists of six artificial islands which have been raised from the IJ Lake. There is a tramline connecting the islands to Amsterdam central station, and there are busses going into Amsterdam East. The area is famous for its modern architecture and there is also a beach area called Blijburg. The Blijburg beach area was created in 2003 and was the first beach in Amsterdam.
Apart from the Dappermarkt pictured above there are many other markets in Amsterdam. Follow the link below to find out when and where they take place.
South East (Zuid-Oost)
The area Zuidoost, also called the Bijlmer, is situated at the South East of Amsterdam. It is a multicultural neighbourhood, with over 130 nationalities. The city plan in this part of Amsterdam is exceptional; the Bijlmer was developed in the late 1960's. Today, when walking through this area, one can still see the remains of these large scale plans, which include clear cut separation of living, working and traffic, high buildings and large green areas.
The area is being populated by an increasing number of students. Currently, there are around 900 students living in this neighbourhood, and more student accommodation is developed.
From the centre of Amsterdam it is about 30-45 minutes by bike. It is also easily accessible by metro.
Although Diemen has its own city council and mayor, it is even nearer to the city centre than some other parts of Amsterdam. From Diemen it is easy to access the city, or walk along the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal to experience typical Dutch cultural landscapes.
Diemen is located south of Watergraafsmeer. It is a quiet middle-class neighbourhood, 30 minutes from the centre by bike, or 10 minutes by train. The student residence De Rode Kruislaan, rented out by de Key, is located here, and consist of five large student flats accommodating around 900 students (both Dutch and international).
From Diemen it is only a short bike ride to the Amsterdam neighbourhoods East (Oost), IJburg and Southeast (Zuidoost). In East there is an ice skating rink called the Jaap Edenbaan. This outdoor skating rink is open during the winter months. A trip to the Jaap Edenbaan will give you the chance to experience this popular Dutch outdoor activity. Check the website for more information:
Amsterdam Noord (North) is a short ferry ride across the IJ from Amsterdam Central Station. There are many different types of accommodation there, ranging from modern high-rise buildings to country cottages. You have to cross the river IJ to get there.
On the northern banks of the IJ you can also find the NDSM Wharf (also a short ferry ride from Amsterdam Central Station). This former shipyard is now the centre for underground culture in Amsterdam. For more information see the website: