En 15 minutes de ferry depuis la gare d’Amsterdam Centraal, voici NDSM, ancien site de construction navale, où une immense grue portuaire abrite... un hôtel (Crane Faralda) - DR : J.-F.R.

From Amsterdam to Berlin, a trendy rail getaway


Amsterdam, European tourist capital, its canals, museums and coffee-shops… and even its overtourism (before Covid). If the hypercentre remains the beating heart of the city, its future is written rather in its outlying districts. Right bank of the river ijreachable in 15 minutes by ferry from Amsterdam Central Stationhere is NDSM, former shipbuilding site. A landscape of cranes, hangars and docks. First occupied by alternative artists, this post-industrial decor has become a trendy district. Sheds and warehouses have been transformed into exhibition venues, organic restaurants, cafes… just like the IJ-Kantine and Pllek, housed in containers. Next to it, a huge port crane houses… a hotel (Crane Faralda). Media and cultural start-ups have taken over the premises. Green buildings and student housing followed. In fine weather, people come to NDSM for concerts, the weekend flea market, festivals… All in the fresh air of the river.

Micropia, science museum

After sacrificing Rijksmuseum and walks along the beautiful pedimented houseswhy not visit a quieter area?
From Crash adjoins the old center and is relatively neglected by tourists. There lies Hortus Botanicus and its 4,000 species of plants. Created in the 17th century, it is the oldest botanical garden in the world! The zoo, on the other hand, offers families breathing space. The district is also home to less prominent but fascinating museums: Resistance (Verztsmuseum), Holocaust, Micropia (scientist) and, at the edge of the sector, the Hermitage (branch of the museum of Saint-Petersburg) and the Tropenmuseum (museum of the Tropics). A amsterdam green and different.

Hanover and the unique WoK (World of Kitchen) museum

From Amsterdam Centraal station, aboard a German EC, comfort is assured. Sober, with firm seat cushions and screens displaying travel time and speed, the journey is pleasant and the landscapes (flat and industrial) pass by at high speed. HAS Hanover, more than half of the course is swallowed. Famous for its mass (fairs-exhibitions), the city is worth a visit for art design and shopping. Have : the Sprengel Museum, devoted to works of the 20th century. and 21st c. (Picasso, Calder, Kandinsky…) and the unpublished WoK (World of Kitchen), Europe’s first museum dedicated to cooking and food. In terms of shopping, Hanover stands out with its shops open several Sundays a year. Lifestyle shopping in the Ernst-August gallery, arty chic along the Niki-de-Saint-Phalle promenade (see also his three sculptures of colorful “girls” on the banks of the Leine), design Gallery Luise

Berlin-Kreuzberg, hipsterized!

So Berlin. Even before the fall of the wall in 1989, the Kreuzberg district, south of Mitte (historic heart) was already apart. Immigration sector, multicultural, already creative. Since then, it has become “hipsterized” but retains its alternative faith, hosting artists’ collectives, vegan restaurants, eco-friendly associations… We unearth these counter-culture places (some have become respectable) in squares, behind noble facades or in improbable backyards, in the heart of the district or on its margins: Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, The Treehouse, SO36, Chamissoplatz organic market… Here and there, walking along walls, pushing open carriage doors, we come across a work of street art or on posters touting alternative therapies. Multikulti, as we say in German!

Dance techno at Berghain

Everything is changing in Berlin and yesterday’s alternative neighborhoods are becoming today’s sore haunts… freidrichshain, “twin” of Kreuzberg, on the other side of the Spree. Just after reunification, squatters and artists took over this former district of East Berlin. Thirty years later, observing the styles in the street (punky, gothic, pierced…) is enough to understand that it is still different. We will stroll in front of the committed frescoes of East Side Gallery (preserved piece of the wall). We will unearth squats in Rigaerstraße. We’ll dance techno until the morning Berghain. We will hunt at the flea market on Boxhagenerplatz. We will socialize in a voku/kufa (self-managed restaurant, anar trend) around a veggie menu. We will take a look at the “Stalinist” buildings of Karl-Marx-Allee. We will be surprised at the cultural mixes in the RAW Gelände or YAAM Beach. Berlin is on the move.


France-Amsterdam by Thalysfrom Paris Gare du Nord, in 3h20 – thalys.com
Amsterdam-Berlin : by EC/IC (German fast trains). Count about 7 hours. bahn.com/en Where ns.nl/en