Just a ferry-ride from Amsterdam’s central port, a former shipyard has been turned into a cultural hotspot for artists, where a unique greenhouse bar has become the old-dock’s vibrant hang-out. Dubbed the Noorderlicht Cafe, the spaces have been built within a curved transparent structure on a grassy terrace that slopes down to the river Ij, offering inimitable views of the city's unusual skyline.
This long, curvilinear building is breathtaking, and the first sight of it is caught from the boat ride that ferries visitors and their bikes directly from the city. The attraction to the area – the huge artist-converted warehouses and run-down open spaces – are fantastic sites for studios and exhibitions, and are located just beside Keetwonen shipping-container student houses.
A good range of seasonal meals, traditional bar-snacks, and of course, Dutch beers, play into the relaxed atmosphere, and music brings in all sorts of ‘alternative’ folk looking to venture off the beaten track.
If you pick your way past the scores of bikes (of course, this is Holland!) lined up beside the greenhouse, you’ll unexpectedly some upon a small pig-pen where waste food becomes a meal for the swine.
At night the glass-structure is dazzling with colorful lights, and even a disco ball that honors its namesake, ‘Northern Lights’.
Lead Image © bicyclemark