I didn’t move to the Westerpark all at once. Although I didn’t love the borough, I actually sort of creeped in here. It was the case of a certain someone and me wanting to share a bed repeatedly. And his bed happened to be located at this specific geographical point. It started out with a tooth brush. In time I took with me books, endless amounts of clothes, tax papers, and cats.
I was used to being an East-Amsterdam girl. In the east there were no tourists. And I work right in the city center, so there’s no way I want to see selfie sticks around when I go home. Also, the east used to be a low-key area of town, with a ‘no-circus’ sort of feel, if you know what I mean. A considerable number of streets were actually uglier than prettier. Now, I don’t have any special affection for ugly things but I’m a big enthusiast of ***peace***. And of life, for that matter.
West-Amsterdam includes much more notorious monuments and boroughs. Think of the Jordaan, the Westerkerk, Anne Frank house or the 9 streets. Add crowds to this equation. As for the Westerpark, its popularity started off in the early 2000, with all the hip and happening festivals and events taking over the place. Again, add crowds to this equation. And then you have the Westergasfabriek standing there in all its glory. This former late 19th century gas factory was turned into a (re)creative hub from the 90’s on, and currently offers a world of possibilities: think of a movie at Het Ketelhuis, ice-creams at the Ijs Cuijpje, a beer at brewery Troost, jazz at the North Sea Jazz Club, a meal for kings at Rainarai, or endless dances at Pacific Parc, just to name a few. Not to mention the whole area is a sea of green fields, where you might run / barbecue / read / walk the dog / sunbathe, or whatever outdoor activity strikes your fancy.
I feel contentment when I think I’ve been surviving the daily cycle of Haarlemmerdijk / Haarlemmerstraat, which is the way out of the borough if you want to go to the city center. I haven’t killed anyone when cycling along the Victoria Hotel crossing either. Westerpark mission accomplished. What’s more, I got addicted to some cafes in the area. I can’t live without the cappuccino from Toki, I adore the working space of Two for Joy, I love the cosiness (and the cakes!) of Koffie ende Koek, I dream with the scones of the Bakkers Winkel. Whenever I say I prefer the east I should bite my tongue. The whole point of this article is me wanting to assure you I’m aware of that.