If you live in Amsterdam, or in The Netherlands for that matter, you know that Amsterdam Oud-Zuid is known for being a rich, popular and beautiful neighbourhood. If you know that, you probably also know that Amsterdam Bijlmer (or Zuidoost as it has been ~ReBrAnDeD~) is not that poppin’. I recently moved from the most popular to debatedly the least popular neighbourhood of Amsterdam. Here a my thoughts about it.
Old buildings are beautiful, but…
I lived in a 1910’s townhouse in Oud-Zuid, where I had a studio space with a shared bathroom. The architecture of my place and the street was beautiful, but there was a problem. I was renting the place, and my landlord hadn’t done anything to it for YEARS. The floor was actually not safe and had a lot of movement, paint chips were constantly falling from the ceiling and there were cracks, mold spots and mice everywhere. It was gross tbh. In that aspect, my new space is wayyy better. I now have a modern studio apartment, with a beautiful kitchen and bathroom. One point for Bijlmer!
One does not simply move outside of The Ring
The older parts of Amsterdam all are inside of the motorway ring A10. It is somewhat of a thing that people who live outside of this ring, don’t *really* live in Amsterdam. It’s quite hautain actually, since most of the neighbourhoods inside the ring are hella expensive. It could still be a point if the accessibility to the city center would be drastically worse, but that’s not the case. In 15 minutes I’m in the trendy Oost neighbourhood, and by metro I’m faster on Dam Square than from my previous place. Another point for Bijlmer in my opinion, because for where I go day to day I can get around town easier now.
It’s not about what it looks like, it’s about the people there
A bit more about the two neighbourhoods. Oud-Zuid is filled with regal townhouses, parks, tree lined streets and is home to the well known Vondelpark. The people there are old money types, local celebrities, expats from around the world and business types. Bijlmer is built in the 1960s till 1980s and got a big upgrade in the past ten years. The people here are more so ‘commoners’, the regular people. Families, students: the population has a way more multicultural background. I feel way more at home with the latter. Besides that, in my old neighbourhood I got annoyed by all the tourists and the looks I got as someone who didn’t really fit the “Oud-Zuid stereotype”. Another point for Bijlmer (shocking, as I am the one writing this).
Parks, pubs, shops, public transport and other amenities
I feel like on this subject, Bijlmer might lose from Oud-Zuid. There are no pubs in my area. There is a park nearby, but it doesn’t rival the vibe in Vondelpark. On shops and public transport, it depends what you want. In Bijlmer there are all the bigger chain shops just around the corner. In Oud-Zuid there were a lot of overpriced independent shops. Public transport here is better if you want to go anywhere in The Netherlands, in Oud-Zuid it was better only if you just go to Amstelveen or the canals. I’d say Bijlmer loses in the amenities department. Sad.
Which one wins?
If you were to take the points given here, it would be obvious that Bijlmer wins. It’s not that easy though. It all depends on what you want from your home, what you want from your neighbourhood, what your personality is, what your budget is, all of that. Would I move back to Oud-Zuid? Yes, only if I’d have unlimited funds. Am I happier here than I was in my old place. Yes, for sure. Let me know what you thought about this blog in the comments down below and I’ll see you soon for another blogpost! Catch me on Instagram in the meantime.