For centuries the north section of the city was an area that most Amsterdammers weren't too keen on. It seems that everything unwanted was 'dumped' here, from the gallows in medieval times to the polluting ship building industry much later. Extensive social housing projects attracted large numbers of financially challenged people exacerbating the stigma that was already attached to Amsterdam's largest administrative district. Today Noord, or simply North, is one of the most vibrant areas of the Dutch capital. More and more people have begun to appreciate the unique merits of this territory beyond the River IJ. With this in mind we’ve put together a small guide to this interesting urban and rural zone that’s usually overlooked by most tourists. All you need to do is to take one of the free ferries behind the Central Station and 10 minutes later you’ll be able to explore Noord and its surroundings. Take a small river cruise on a boat that offers an all-you-can-eat pancake buffet, do some cycling in the pristine countryside, bring a towel and swim trunks and take a dip at one of the area's swimming pools or visit a festival and see why Noord has become the sizzling new hub of Amsterdam's creative community.