Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ouderkerk aan den Amstel: idyllic little village just a stone’s throw from Amsterdam

One of the little picturesque villages in the Netherlands which happens to be just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam is Ouderkerk aan den Amstel. By car, it’s the first exit from the highway after leaving the A10 highway ring and joining the A2 highway to the direction of Utrecht and Maastricht. An easy option from Amsterdam would be by bike or boat as it is fairly near. If taking a look at the map of North Holland province, one can see that the village is right across Amsterdam Zuid Oost with only the A2 highway separating it.

I’ll have to warn though that this village is REALLY small. The place is ideal for lunching or having afternoon tea combined with a nice walk or a bike excursion in and around the surroundings, which I must add, the landscape past Ronde Hoep nearby is very pretty. The zigzagged dike doubles up as the country road is above sea level and the canals and vast fields below form a majestic panorama. Or, if you arrive by a boat, you can always dock somewhere and then have drinks by the café restaurant on the corner of the white wooden draw bridge called Korte Brug over the Bullewijk River.

Draw bridges are typically Dutch and the one in Ouderkerk aan den Amstel over the Bullewijk River, which is a tributary river of the Amstel River in Amsterdam, gives this little bucolic village its very own fascinating charisma.

This is the Kerkstraat, the main street of the village that leads to the St. Urbanus Roman Catholic Church and ends on the other side with a couple restaurants and shops. This wooden white bridge is called Korte Brug and the river below it is called Bullewijk River which is an offshoot of the River Amstel in Amsterdam.

The "De Oude Smidse" cafe restaurant is a pretty location to have drinks or dining while enjoying the serene village surroundings over the river. Unfortunately, my Nokia Navigator wasn't of much help here as it can't really take nice pictures against the light. On the same street, one can find the more than 100 years old bakery, Bakker Out - baking since 1897.

Here is another foto of the Roman Catholic St. Urbanus Church. There is a Protestant Church on the other side of the river which isn't as pretty as her Catholic sister (and which is always the case anyway as Protestants are more conservative than the "bourgondisch" Catholics). To get out of the village just follow - Doorgand verkeer.

Anywho... just want to say that when I was here and when I was leaving my way via the dikes in Ronde Hoep all the way to Vinkeveen, I passed by a police car and a tow truck busy pulling out a muddied car nestled between a duct and the meadow below the 2-meter high dikes. Goodness heavens. That is one long jump to get down there! The driver must have driven above the required speed limit which is 50 km/ph–the roads are narrow and winding–and lost control of the wheel. OK, tell me... why I am not surprised to see that the driver was a woman? lol

Ouderkerk aan den Amstel is also two centuries older than Amsterdam. Yes, that old!

And for such a small village, who would expect that there are 7 restaurants in residence here? One of which is even a Michelin-star restaurant. During summer months I read that there are culinaire walking tours being held here too.

A few more fotos here: Ouderkerk aan den Amstel - North Holland, Netherlands

Well, I’d like to come back to Ouderkerk aan den Amstel and park myself on the deck terrace of De Oude Smidse café restaurant by the little draw bridge over the Bullewijk River. On a beautiful sunny day, I think it’s one of the nice and romantic places to sit down, enjoy a glass of chilled wine and watch the world go by.

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