Amsterdam Central Station – Best sustainable places in and around

Built between 1881 and 1889, Amsterdam Central Station – known locally as Amsterdam Centraal – is the second busiest railway station in the Netherlands behind Utrecht. As a result, arriving here can be a little bit confusing. But don’t despair, we’re here to guide you to the best and most sustainable places in and around this busy station.

Amsterdam Central Station gives you direct access to the bustling city

In the station

No time to leave the station? Head straight to platform 2B and treat yourself to a cup of coffee at the Grand Café Restaurant 1e Klas. Elegance, grandeur and even a talking parrot – it’s the perfect place to while away the time before your train. Open every day from 9:30 AM.

If you’re departing from or arriving at Amsterdam Central Station and fancy a spot of shopping, look no further than the I Amsterdam Store located conveniently in the railway station itself. Here you’ll find the perfect gifts and souvenirs for back home from the best Amsterdam-based brands. Or what about some fair trade chocolate from Tony’s Chocolonely, or a cool belt made from bicycle tyres by an upcycle designer?

Intercity train just arrived from Berlin

Around the station

1. Cuyperspassage

History buffs and those interested in the powerful Dutch East India Company – one of the most influential corporations of all time – should venture outside the station to the 110-metre Cuyperspassage, named after the station’s architect, Pierre Cuypers. Along the wall of this cycle path meets pedestrian walkway, 80,000 hand-painted tiles in pale Delft blue depict an elaborate tableau of Dutch naval history – an impressive work of art that is well worth a visit.

Not to miss: Dutch naval history depicted on 80,000 hand-painted tiles

2. De Ceuvel

De Ceuvel, a uniquely sustainable urban development space in Amsterdam, is an absolute must. Take the free ferry from the IJ-side of the station to Buiksloterweg. From there, it’s a 20 minute walk to the most sustainable place in town. Situated on the waterfront, this “city playground” for tech and innovation organises tours and workshops and also hosts a sustainable café and restaurant.

3. City views

Once in Buiksloterweg, choose between the tourist-friendly A’DAM Lookout – an observation deck and the highest point in town – and a visit to the Eye Filmmuseum, which is also located on the waterfront. With the best views in town from ground-level, a film museum, several cinemas that show art house films and a seasonal restaurant, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy.

4. Charity shops

Want to shop? Avoid the busy streets around the Dam, Nieuwedijk and Kalverstraat and opt instead for the De Lokatie thrift stores. Find local hidden treasures at bargain prices – clothes, books, trinkets and more. De Lokatie has locations across the city, with one just a 15 minute walk from the ferry on the other side of the IJ River.

5. The Pink Tanker

Want to escape the tourists? Visit the Roze Tanker, only a 10-minute walk after taking the ferry to Buiksloterweg. This hipster area in the green Noorderpark features a pink tanker from a former petrol station, nowadays a cultural stage with exhibitions, concerts, workshops and debates. 

6. Hannekes Boom

A 10 minute walk along the waterfront you’ll find Hannekes Boom, a sustainable café/restaurant built from salvaged and recycled materials where you can sit on benches along the waterside. It’s got great food and a very relaxed atmosphere.

7. Local brews

People and beer – that’s what it’s all about at Brouwerij de Prael, a beautiful old brewery and shop only a 4 minute walk from the station. Situated in the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, the so-called red light district, the area is currently transforming into the city’s first ‘green light district’ owing to its bold sustainable ambitions. The brewery is located in a former beer quay where, as early as 1300, ships would bring beer from Germany and offload it here. 

8. Eco-hotel

If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out the Conscious Hotel in Westerpark, only 2.2 km from Amsterdam Centraal. Situated in Westerpark, the grand original building has been transformed into an eco-sexy 89-room hotel with one side of the hotel overlooking the cultural grounds of Westergasfabriek, a former gas works and today a space for events and markets. On the other side, there’s a park full of greenery – the perfect place for a morning walk or run.

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Bonnie worked for the international arm of the Dutch Railways and for Interrail for many years. She has spent decades travelling around Europe by rail, working for various travel agencies and NGOs and discovering the continent's best local and sustainable spots. She's now keen to share her experiences with the wider Railtripping community. Bonnie is based in the Amsterdam region.