‘When are you going to spend some time in Amsterdam?’ Dutch friends and neighbours are asking. ‘Aren’t we interesting enough for you?’
The Schinkel is a river leading out of the Nieuwe Meer (New Lake), which became ‘canalized’ in 1808 when a connection was dug to the Kostverlorenvaart, a major shipping traffic route to the sea since the Middle Ages.
It’s still one of Amsterdam’s busiest waterways. We enjoy watching the steady stream of boats that use it – the heavy sand barges that steer under the bridges with only centimetres to spare on either side, the pleasure boats and runabouts, and in the warmer months, the cruise ships with the bikes on deck.
The Schinkelbuurt is on the border between the stately 19th century homes of the ‘old money’ in Amsterdam South and the less well-to-do, now culturally diverse Baarsjes area.
The Vondelpark kept the two neighbourhoods apart with its narrow strip of green, until Amsterdam’s expansion in the early 20th century let them spill over into each other at the Schinkel end of the park.
We love it here.
I love my morning pilgrimage to Klopper and Stolk bakery.
I love crossing the bicycle bridge as the office workers, the high school students and the mothers ferrying children to school cycle past into the Vondelpark, the easiest and most pleasant route to the centre of Amsterdam.
The coffee at Gent aan de Schinkel may be disappointing, though no worse than most Amsterdam swill, and it is a great place to sit at the ricketty tables by the water.
Dirk van den Broek has a reputation as a cheap supermarket and our particular ‘Dirk’ supplies us well with life’s necessities.
We make no use at all of the smaller businesses that line the canal – the Imps and Elfs kids’ clothing, the smart Boffi kitchens, the small art galleries, the tailor on the corner, KwikFit car repairs – but it’s nice to know they’re there.
And it’s a short and pleasant bike ride along the Schinkel to the nature reserves at the Nieuwe Meer and Amsterdamse Bos. It’s good to be back.
To explore the Schinkel area on Google Street View, click here.