Welcome to Send Global—a blog dedicated to all things international about climbing and bouldering! This our second entry and is on the climbing and bouldering gyms in Amsterdam. If you’d like to read the first blog, click here! If you would like to submit a blog about your experiences with climbing abroad, message us here!
Amsterdam – the city of Van Gogh, Heineken, and bicycles, so many bicycles, has enough to do for even the most capricious traveler. It boasts a vast museum district right in the heart of the city, with cafes, restaurants, and brasseries filling the gaps. For a more informal look at the city’s art scene look to the NDSM Wharf. Located in Amsterdam Noord, the NDSM Wharf is accessible by the free ferry (Route 903) from the back of Amsterdam Centraal Station. Come here for cultural events, concerts, and stacks upon stacks of shipping containers – each one graffitied by local and visiting artists.
For those of us who are more likely to pack shoes and chalk instead of coats and tails, Amsterdam Noord offers a homey bouldering gym right by the water. From the back of Amsterdam Centraal, catch the 902 ferry to IJplein and take a short stroll along the water to Monk, a bouldering only facility with a sizeable, climbing-specific training area complete with Moon Board on the second floor. (The views from the campus board are to die for!) Oh, and of course, they keep their garage door wide open on a sunny day.
Monk also boasts a spacious lounge area with a coffee bar and sandwiches, snacks, and several local beers on tap. Grab a seat on the outdoor patio overlooking the bay to enjoy a cold beer after your workout, and you won’t be disappointed. There are also plenty of climbs set for the younger generation of climbers. So, if you’re more interested in the snack bar offerings than the hold selection, no gym in the Netherlands will disappoint. Feel free to walk to the ferry whenever you feel like – they are frequent and typically uncrowded.
Monk also has a location in Rotterdam, if you were planning a day trip to the hub of Dutch experimental music, architecture, and maritime history. Monk Rotterdam has more climbing square footage, but alas no Moon Board. From Rotterdam Centraal get to Monk via either the Number 4 or Number 8 trolley. For the after-party, have a pint at Monk, or take the Number 8 trolley to the infamous Cool District for a taste of how Rotterdam does international cuisine. As the saying goes, “Amsterdam has it, Rotterdam doesn’t need it.”
If you’re looking to do some serious roped climbing in Amsterdam, then check out Klimhaal Mountain Network Amsterdam. Mountain Network has locations throughout the country, but the one in Amsterdam, easily accessible by the Number 13 trolley from Amsterdam Centraal Station, boasts the tallest, continuous overhang in the country. The roof section comes in at no less than 10 meters (32 feet) with the roped climbing area topping out at 15 meters (~50 feet), with over a hundred routes, grades starting at 4 (5.2) and going all the way to 8c+ (5.14c).
Note for travelers with heat sensitivity: Europeans are not too fond of AC. They consider it unnecessary at best or costly and wasteful at most, and this attitude extends to their climbing gyms as well. There are plenty of fans and efforts at deodorization and air circulation. But, climbing in the summertime (like yours truly) can be a sweaty challenge akin to climbing at the Red River Gorge in July.
Recently, Mountain Network Amsterdam became the primary gym of the Netherlands climbing team, leading to an influx of enjoyable comp-style problems in the downstairs bouldering area. Come here for stylish climbs on spectacular holds typically only seen in climbing competitions – look for technical dynos, dead-points, and the dreaded high-coordination run-and-jumps. There is also a physical therapist on-premises weekly – so there are no excuses for not doing your PT on vacation!
Although looking to get a few routes in may not be on everyone’s vacation to-do list, it certainly was on mine! Besides, what better way to get to know a city than to work a problem with a regular? And then perhaps, head down to the local watering hole for the send sandwiches and a cocktail? I struggle to think of one.
Do you have a story about climbing abroad you want heard? Has climbing overseas changed your perspective on climbing in the United States? Reach out to us! Tufas Boulder Lounge is always looking for contributors from diverse backgrounds, interests, and voices. Just move your cursor over to the Contact Us link on our website!
Z. Kudratov wrote this, among other things. They’re an imported Philadelphian with a soft spot for public transportation, public radio, and the PMA.