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Ouderkerk aan de Amstel: A Hidden Day Trip from Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world, but ultimately, it’s still a major metropolitan area burdened with the busy buzz of all major cities. Do you (like me) find yourself longing for a respite from the daily grind and frenetic energy that often accompanies city living in Amsterdam? If so, let me introduce you to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (Old Church on the Amstel) – a veritable treasure trove just a short distance from the urban tumult.

This idyllic haven promises an oasis of tranquility that will soothe your weary soul and rejuvenate your spirit. Its serene ambiance and peaceful surroundings provide the ideal sanctuary when you long for a break from Amsterdam’s ceaseless hustle and bustle.

Watch the full travel guide from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel on how to complete this amazing day trip below.

Things to Do in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Netherlands

1. Visit Beth Haim Portuguese-Jewish Cemetery and History Museum Ouder-Amstel

Historisch Museum Ouder-Amstel
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

History lovers will find a day trip to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel exciting. The first stop on your journey should be the Beth Haim Portuguese Jewish Cemetery, one of Europe’s oldest Jewish burial grounds. Bathing in serenity amidst the wistfully green vastness will transport you back centuries, imparting an indelible mark on your memory.

Across the street, you’ll find the Historisch Museum Ouder-Amstel (History Museum Ouder-Amstel), where you can learn more about the town’s history.

2. Savor Culinary Delights

Ron Gastrobar Indonesia, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

During my first trip to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, I was genuinely surprised by the delicious grub you can find here. This charming village offers a tantalizing gastronomical spread to satiate any hunger pangs. Between the excellent riverfront lunch and dinner options or indulging in sweet confections from local bakeries, your taste buds will thank you for the day trip to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

Some of our favorite food options are Ron Gastrobar Indonesia, Cafe Loetje, and the iconic bakery Bakker Out, which has been there since 1918. In that very location, they’ve been baking bread since the early 1600s(!).

If you get to the bakery early enough, grab a spot on the terrace and gaze at the skinny bridge with the beautiful St. Urbanus Kerk Ouderkerk aan de Amstel in the background.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Amsterdam, Netherlands

3. Cycle along the Amstel

Biking Along the Amstel River, Amstelveen, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

My favorite way to get to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel from Amsterdam is in the bike saddle, especially if the weather is as balmy as in the image above!

Amsterdam, a city sculpted by beautiful canals and renowned for its love for biking, offers any cycling enthusiast an idyllic riding experience. A bike ride along the Amstel, one of the city’s most famous canals, is quite a treat.

Beginning your ride from Amsterdam’s bustling heart, the journey takes you through picturesque landscapes, eventually leading to the quaint charm of the village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

Laced with majestic windmills and lush green meadows, the easy ride along the Amstel is full of sights that keep you company. The extensive and well-maintained bike paths ensure a smooth and enjoyable biking experience.

If you are biking from Amsterdam, stop by De Riekermolen Windmill (The Reeker Windmill) and immerse yourself in the country’s history while enjoying the picturesque landscapes of the Amstel River and its captivating windmill.

I absolutely adore this ride. This fun-filled biking journey from Amsterdam to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel effortlessly blends the city’s urban thrill with its rustic delight, offering a unique perspective of an artistic blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.

4. Ouderkerkerplas

Aerial view of Ouderkerkerplas in Netherlands
martinbertrand.fr / Shutterstock.com

Ouderkerkerplas is a stunning man-made lake nestled within a polder, near Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. The lake was developed by extracting sand, gravel, and clay essential for the construction of Amsterdam. The resulting void was filled by water and thus formed the beautiful Ouderkerkerplas.

Surrounded by lush meadows and flourishing coastal plants, the lake is a popular spot for various recreational activities such as swimming, windsurfing, and bird watching and serves as a habitat for a diverse range of Dutch flora and fauna.

The area is also renowned for a charming local cafe, where visitors can relax and soak in the lake’s serene beauty. Perched comfortably near the water, the cafe at Ouderkerkerplas offers a delightful menu for visitors to relish, rounding off an idyllic day spent beside the lake’s shimmering waters.

See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in the Netherlands

5. Amstelkerk

Amstelkerk, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Amstelkerk is a structure of deep historical significance in the heart of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. This historic church embodies centuries of cultural heritage within its quintessentially Dutch aesthetics. Having withstood the test of time, the Amstelkerk has borne witness to the life and evolution of the village over centuries.

Its framework, dating back to the mid-17th century, exhibits classic Dutch architectural mastery. Despite facing over three centuries of weathering and societal evolutions, the church is exceptionally well-preserved. It maintains its tall, elegant spire and stark white exterior that befits its fairytale surroundings in Ouderkerk.

Influenced by many generations, the religious, cultural, and architectural significance of the Amstelkerk only reinforces the rich tapestry of Dutch history. Today, it continues to serve as a symbol of continuity and remembrance, as a window into the past for all those who appreciate history and architecture.

6. Visit De Zwaan Windmill

Traditional dutch windmill on blue sky next to the river Amstel with white boat passing by
EternalMoments / Shutterstock.com

Another historic windmill, situated on the bank of the tranquil Amstel in the most picture-perfect postcard setting, perfectly encapsulated the authentic Dutch countryside vibe history from centuries past. It’s a treasured piece of living history.

De Riekermolen, built around 1638, still stands proudly as a testament to traditional mechanical engineering and is considered one of the most beautifully preserved windmills in the Netherlands. Surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking the serene river, it offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s agricultural heritage.

Pay a visit and admire its perfectly intact mechanism – it’s staggering that it’s still in such good shape. The dreamy surroundings also provide for a relaxed walk or a peaceful bike ride along the river banks direct from the heart of Amsterdam.

See Related: Visiting Kinderdijk Windmills: What You NEED to Know 

7. Watch the sunset from the town center

Ouderkerk aan de Amstel Sunset
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

As the day gradually gives in to the enchanting twilight in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, the serene village undergoes a magical transformation. The setting sun dips behind the horizon, casting long, languid shadows that dance and play across cobblestone streets and centuries-old Dutch architecture.

The golden hour drapes everything in an ethereal luminescence – it’s like Mother Nature has taken out her paintbrush and turned the world into a breathtaking masterpiece!

The gently flowing Amstel River perfectly mirrors this celestial spectacle. To further the painting metaphor, it’s like a canvas for the descending sun, reflecting brilliant hues of gold and amber back onto quaint houses along its banks.

To make the most of this experience, grab a drink from one of the many riverside cafes and take in the beauty of the Dutch countryside in the dying light.

8. Rembrandt Hoeve

Rembrandt Hoeve in Netherlands
Romāns Kolduns / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Another great stop if you’re biking (particularly with kids) is Rembrandt Hoeve, a clog maker, cheese factory, and farm. It’s a great place to stop to grab a souvenir from the Netherlands to bring home, and it’s very much a local’s spot. It’s not directly located in the town center of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, but roughly at the halfway point between the Ouderkerk and Amsterdam.

How to Get to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

st urbanus kerk ouderkerk aan de amstel
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Wondering how to get to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel from Amsterdam? Well, there are a few ways to skin this cat. Accessing this hidden gem to discover and bask in its quiet, serene aura is easy.

This lovely little village, positioned along the Amstel River, is (in true Amsterdam fashion) conveniently accessible by numerous forms of transportation such as bike, car, train, boat, or walking your way there.

You can avail yourself of the convenience and speed of a subway if you’re seeking a quick ride, while a leisurely journey amidst enchanting views could be realized by taking a bus. You can also take a train to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel if you prefer a more direct route. If you’re looking for a more private and personalized experience, hiring a taxi or driving a car is a great decision, if a little pricier.

For me, the best option is to rent a bike or cruise down the picturesque landscape enveloping the Amstel River and prepare to be mesmerized by the remarkable views of the classic Dutch countryside of North Holland. Discovering this near-ethereal beauty makes the day trip to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel a treasure well worth uncovering.

And if you feel like staying a little longer, there are a few vacation rentals in the neighborhood and a couple of hotels, such as The Waverly House.

See Related: Tips for Riding a Bike in Amsterdam

What is Ouderkerk aan de Amstel Known For?

Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Netherlands - Scenic view of the town.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

This enchanting village in Noord-Holland (North Holland), Netherlands, is aptly named as it sits on the bank of the Amstel River. Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is known for its historical buildings, including the Jewish cemetery Beth Haim with gravestones dating back to 1614, and the historic Amstelkerk church.

Ouderkerk aan de Amstel holds an air of tranquility, offering an escape from the rat race of city life, despite its proximity to Amsterdam. A trip to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel allows immersion in Dutch countryside culture, peaceful walks by the Amstel, and local specialties in quaint riverside restaurants. The Dutch tradition of celebrating life’s simple pleasures comes alive in Ouderkerk – a haven for anyone seeking the charm of the Netherlands in a serene setting.

In Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, the Amstel River is more than a body of water; it’s the village’s living, breathing heart. The tranquil riverside lanes, starkly different from Amsterdam’s frenetic energy, are a pleasure to wander. Either on your feet or pedaling away leisurely, the riverside charm of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel presents a fresh experience for city dwellers and tourists alike.

Despite its proximity to Amsterdam’s popular tourist hub, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel remains a relatively unexplored treasure for most tourists. It’s a perfect day trip option offering tranquility and wonder in one magical package – so don’t miss out!

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