Amsterdam Off The Beaten Path Tips by Pijlmans
Amsterdam Off The Beaten Path: 525 reviews and 772 photos
Banpaal Amstel river
Four authentic "banning poles" or "boundary stakes" (banpaal in Dutch) can be found around Amsterdam. In 1544 emperor Charles V granted Amsterdam the right to ban criminals, vagabonds and other undesirable individuals to one German mile (7.4 km) outside the city gates. Six boundary stakes along the main approaches to the city indicated the borders of this banishment area. Exiles were forbidden to enter the area within the limits of the stakes until their banishment had ended. By entering the area they risked capital punishment.
Banning was a popular punishment for thieves and beggars, but also for cursing, gambling or prostitution. Nobody has been exiled since 1800.
On the banning poles is written "Terminus Proscriptions" and "Uiterste Palen Der Ballingen" which is respectively Latin and Dutch for "limit post of the banished".
Interestingly, in 1650 the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt made an etching showing one of these banning poles. This "Rembrandt pole" dates from 1624 and has been relocated several times. The lower part unfortunately has been destroyed, but the remaining part can now be found in the Geuzenbos at the Spaarnwouderdijk, close to its original position where it was painted by Rembrandt. The exact location is behind the water-pumping station near the Wethouder van Essenweg. You'll have to climb over a small wooden fence to reach it, this is completely legal to do, the fence is just there to keep the sheep inside (coordinates N52 23.521 E4 46.153).
The other 3 remaining banning poles can be found here:
- Sloterweg in Sloten, hidden in an alley between house numbers 1204 and 1208. The original boundary stake from 1624 along the Sloterweg in Sloten marked the southwestern extent of the banishment area and was replaced in 1794, since it was falling into ruin (coordinates N52 20.501 E4 47.927).
- Amsterdamseweg 210 in Amstelveen dating from 1625 . The banning pool on the Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen is close to the parks De Braak, Thijssepark and Broersepark in Amstelveen and a visit to the banning pole could be combined with a visit to these parks (coordinates N52 18.810 E4 50.826).
- Along the river Amstel, Amsteldijk Noord, close to house number 65. This banning pole from 1625 is included in a marked 10 km walk through the Middelpolder (coordinates N52 18.624 E4 54.278).
I made a 48 km cycle tour along the banning poles called Amsterbanned. Click on the link for more info!
City wall and St Walburgis Church
Zutphen is a picturesque city along the river IJssel in the province Gelderland, in the mid-east of the Netherlands.
It is about 90 minutes from Amsterdam by train.
Zutphen used to be a fortified city, and the remains of the city wall, gates and defense towers remind you of this.
There are also several churches, among which the St Walburgis Church with the famous 16th century Librije library. In this old library, the books are locked with chains in order to prevent theft. It's one of the three libraries like that in the world!
See the link below for more information.
Ferryboat on the Nieuwe Meer
In the weekends a ferryboat connects the North bank of the Nieuwe Meer (Oude Haagseweg near McDonald´s and the beaches) with the South bank (close to the pancake restaurant Boerderij Meerzicht, see my other tips).
A fast and exciting way to reach the Amsterdamse bos from Amsterdam West, or to reach the beaches of the Nieuwe Meer from the Amsterdamse Bos.
Single trip only 1 euro for adults and 0.50 euro for kids (5-12 years), bikes and buggies. Free for kids under 4 years.
15 April - 15 Oktober, every 15 minutes on: Saturdays 12.00-18.00h, Sundays and holidays 11.00-19.00h.
Other Contact: http://www.rederij-oeverloos.nl/
Phone: +31 20 644 51 63
Gaasper Zoom route
This 13 km long (3 hour) hike takes you through the recreational areas Gaasperplas, Gaasperzoom and De Hoge Dijk in Amsterdam Zuidoost (south-east).
The walk is well marked with signs from the ANWB (the Dutch touring club) which are marked "Gaasper Zoom Route" (see pictures). The hike starts and finishes at metrostation Gaasperplas. Metro 53 stops here.
You can also cheat a little and take the metro at station Holendrecht near the AMC (Amsterdam Medical Center) on your way back, that will save you about 20-30 minutes. If you want you can visit the Vrolik museum of medical curiosities while you are near the AMC.
Some parts of the walk are unpaved, so leave your high heels at home!
There is a map with the route among the pictures.
On my Netherlands page there is a lot more information about hiking in Holland, follow the link below.
At the famous windmill park Zaanse Schans, you can visit several windmills, cheese farm and clog factory etc. There also is a museum about the region, see:
Behind the museum, there is an information panel that describes two hikes (see the legend "foot paths" at the link above):
Yellow route: 4 km
Blue route: 8.5 km (Molenroute, or Mill route)
Both routes are marked with yellow or blue stickers on signposts and streetlights. We only walked the blue route, which takes you along the windmills and through the polder. Most of the route is along local roads, and not extremely scenic. However, in March we saw many birds. There are also nice houses along the route.
Part of the unpaved route (called Schanszichtpad) is closed between March 15 and June 15 (breeding season for birds), but this part is optional so it's always possible to do this walk. Have a look at the map between the pictures, the light-blue part is the Schanszichtpad.
Bos en Dijk route
This attractive walk of 16 km, called Bos en Dijkroute (Forest and Dike route), takes you through the small forest of Purmerend, and along a dike.
Parts of the walk are unpaved, so it might be muddy after long periods of rain.
Purmerend is just 30 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station, by train or bus, see http://journeyplanner.9292.nl/.
If you are by car, you can park at the train station or along the route, e.g. near the crossing Purmerweg / Purmerdijk.
The route from the train station to the starting point of the walk is indicated with blue stickers on streetlights and signs. The walk itself is also marked with these blue stickers.
See the link below for a map. On this map there are two other marked walks indicated:
Vurige Staart route (7 km), starting in Ilpendam
Hekkenroute (12 km) from Ilpendam to Edam (or vice versa)
You could combine these walks and plan your own route as well.
More info (Dutch):
Goudriaan route marking
The Goudriaan route, a hike of about 12 km, starts and finishes just outside the village Durgerdam. There is a big parking. Durgerdam is part of the municipality Amsterdam.
The hike is marked with blue stickers with "Goudriaan route", see the pictures.
Actually, the description of the hike says it is 12 km, but it seemed to be more like 10 km to us.
The hike goes along the dike, and through the polder. We saw many birds during the walk.
The only drawback of this hike is that you're walking on rather narrow cycle-tracks, and there may be many bikes passing....
Start and finish are at the bus stop and parking at the "Uitdammerdijk" (Amsterdam), close to the wind turbine, just outside Durgerdam (see pictures). See http://journeyplanner.9292.nl/ for public transport.
Playground in the Amstelpark
The Amstelpark is a big park in the south of Amsterdam, enclosed by the Europaboulevard, the highway A10 and the river Amstel.
The Amstelpark offers a broad diversity of things to do, for adults but also for children. A wide variety of trees and and flowers can be found here, as well as several kinds of animals like squirrels.
Things to do and see in the Amstelpark:
- Playground and farm for kids (http://www.speeltuin-amstelpark.nl/)
- Midget golf (http://www.midgetgolf-amstelpark.nl/)
- Pony rides for kids
- Tour by small train, April-October daily from 10.00-18.00, in the winter on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11.00-18.00)
- Mill (Riekermolen).
- Glass house (Glazen Huis) with exhibitions
- Gallery Papillon
- Rhododendron Valley with 8000 rhododendrons of 139 species
- Garden with endangered local plants (Heemtuin)
- Butterfly Garden
- Rose Garden (Rosarium) with 160 different species of roses
- Dahliarama with different kinds of dahlias and other plants
- Japanese Garden
- Conifer Garden
- Orangerie with exotic plants.
- Cafe De Hop
- Restaurant Rosarium (http://www.rosarium.net/).
The main entrance is at the Europaboulevard, opposite to the A.J. Ernststraat. The park can be reached with busses 69, 169 and 148, or by train/metro/tram to RAI station. For info about the Amstelpark: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: +31 20 644 42 16
Fort aan de Drecht
The Defense Line of Amsterdam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. See for more info about the Fortresses of the Defense Line:
This 8-10 km marked hike takes you along two fortresses of the Defense Line of Amsterdam:
Fortress along the river Drecht (http://www.fortaandedrecht.nl/)
Fort De Kwakel (http://www.stelling-amsterdam.nl/forten/kwakel/)
The walk starts and finishes in the village De Kwakel, at the bus stop (bus 147) at the crossing Drechtdijk-Kerklaan. The route is marked with red/yellow stickers on signposts. Some parts are unpaved, so wear good shoes and avoid this walk after a very rainy period.
See http://www.9292ov.nl/ for public transport information. It e.g. takes 60-90 minutes by bus to get to De Kwakel from Amsterdam Central Station.
This marked walk of the Dutch Touring Club ANWB takes you through a polder (Middelpolder), located south of Amsterdam and east of Amstelveen.
The walk is about 10.5 km on paved road and passes mainly through pasture and along the river Amstel.
Along the way, next to the river Amstel, you will find a so-called "banpaal", a banning pole from 1625 AD that was used to mark the territory of Amsterdam for those banned from the city. Along the Amstel there are also some magnificent country houses.
The route is well marked with hexagonal signs with "Middelpolderroute", see the pictures. You can print the map that is among the pictures for reference.
Possible starting points:
The official starting point is close to Restaurant 't Klein Kalfje (http://www.restaurantkleinkalfje.nl/), Amsteldijk Noord 355, Amstelveen. You can go here if you have a car or a bike.
By public transport, you can pick up the route at point 3 (Bankrasweg, Amstelveen) on the map. Take tram 5 or metro 51 (GVB) direction Amstelveen from Amsterdam, get out at stop Zonnestein. Follow the Straat van Messina to the east, walk via Oostelijk Halfrond and the Machineweg to the Bankrasweg, which you follow to the south.
Another option is to take bus 165 (Connexxion) and get out at stop Machineweg. Bus 165 commutes between Amsterdam Zuid Station and Amstelveen bus station.
Please note that if you are between point 1 and 2 on the map (Kalfjeslaan) you have to take the bridge to the left just after the sports fields, this is not clearly marked.
When you reach the river Amstel, you have to go left to follow the route. However, you can make a little detour by going right, to the scenic village Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. There are many restaurants in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, some of them with a nice terrace at the Amstel river.
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