POINTS OF INTEREST
Just beyond the Jordaan and across from the main canal that borders the Western Islands is one of contemporary Amsterdam's most cherished spaces. It's a park first and foremost, with lawns, playgrounds, water fountains, a fabulous designer paddling pool, and a couple of tennis courts. The sprawling terrain of the city's old gasworks has been turned into the Westergasfabriek: cafés, galleries, clubs, and an art-house cinema occupy the former industrial landscape that has been lovingly detoxed, replanted, and refurbished, building by building. There's even a bit of natural wilderness (or at least the organized Dutch kind of "wilderness") behind the park, with a community farm, a children's farm, a natural playground for kids, and some polder areas with footpaths between them. The lovely late-19th-century Sint Barbara cemetery is here, too.