The Entrepotdok is a rather intriguing part of east Amsterdam that showcases the curious architectural creativity of the city. The canal runs along the north side of the Plantage neighbourhood. Its most notable sight is the row of merchant houses that stretch along the canal's entire northern side, making it the largest inhabited complex of merchant houses in Amsterdam.

    The Entrepotdok is essentially an old industrial warehouse that's been completely transformed into urban housing. Today, the area is known for its office spaces and alfresco cafes, which spill out onto the canals between pockets of trees and parkland.

    A brief history of the Entrepotdok

    The Entrepotdok was raised as a depot by the trading empire of the Dutch East India Company. Various parts of the colossal warehouse were built at different times, starting in 1708 and finishing in the 1820s. At one time, the storage units here represented the largest of their kind in the whole of Europe.

    Ownership was transferred to the Dutch state in the early 19th century, turning the Entrepotdok into a major customs facility. Traders and merchants from across the Baltic and North Seas would pull in and pay dues on their goods.

    After WWII, the warehouses fell into disrepair. The 1980s heralded a major redevelopment plan for the city. Part of that was a proposal to turn the Entrepotdok into social housing for squatters. Fast forward to today and the area is now considered a hip and stylish bedroom quarter, with sleek, spacious flats and eateries galore.

    What are the highlights of the Entrepotdok?

    The Entrepotdok has 2 standout highlights – its architecture and its atmosphere. The first should be immediately apparent the moment you step onto the canal. Just check out those long, stretched out, redbrick frontispieces. Some of them date back to the 1700s, when the depots were first constructed by the big wigs of the Dutch East India Company.

    There's a gateway – the Poort van het Entrepotdok – towards the northwest end of the canal. That gives way to some of the oldest depots in the area, and still looks every inch the grand entrance to one of the city's most important industrial sectors.

    Your visit to the Entrepotdok should also be about soaking up the easy-going vibes in this corner of the capital. Everything, from start-up tech companies to beer bars, line the quaysides. Among them, veggie-friendly diner Bloem Eten & Drinken and the sleek craft bar Gollem Aan Het Water draw some of the biggest crowds.

    A trip to the nearby Plantage should be on the cards, too. That's just to the south, offering quirky B&Bs and fun places to explore. A must-see is the ARTIS Zoo, where you can visit camels, sea lions, and a whole menagerie of exotic creatures.

    Good to know about the Entrepotdok

    The Entrepotdok lies about 2 km southeast of Amsterdam Centraal. A stroll will take you through some of the most interesting parts of the city, including De Wallen, Nieuwmarkt and Plantage. In all, you're looking at about 20 minutes on foot from the railway station.

    Bear in mind that the Entrepotdok is mainly a residential quarter. Yes, there are lots of eateries and bars, but a majority of the old depots are lived-in flats. That means there's a distinctly local feel, and not too much in the way of mainstay sights or museums. That said, it's great if you're looking to get off the beaten track in Amsterdam.

    Entrepotdok in Amsterdam

    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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