The Shallow Man recalls a tale he was once told -the story of the richest man in the world, who was so wealthy he could afford to have his whims, fancies and heart’s desires fulfilled with a snap of his diamond-covered fingers. However, there was one thing that eluded him. The secret of eternal life. This he sought above all else, as he reasoned, what was the point in being so rich and yet he would die eventually like some common pauper.

To this end, he sent out a team of experts to scour the world for a formula that would provide him with eternal life. Eventually, after many years of searching, his team found a remote and uncharted Island on which they were told lived a tribe that had the secret of eternity. Excited he made the long and perilous journey to the Island, along with plenty of Gold, the price the tribe demanded for sharing their secret.

The Gold was taken by the tribe and the wealthy man drank a cup of an Elixir which would grant him eternal life. Upon drinking, he fell into a deep sleep, and when he awoke he was surprised to see that he was sat on a stool in a cage made from Gold. He attempted to rise from the stool but was completely unable to move a muscle, nor was he able to speak. He sat and is still sitting there frozen for eternity in a golden cage, on an Island called IJburg, which brings me to the subject of today’s post.


The Shallow Man in his continuing series on the various neighborhoods of Amsterdam has braved angry comments from the residents of each area he has covered so far, to bring the truth about various parts of Amsterdam to his public. Yet again, I will risk life, limb and exquisitely tailored three-piece suit, to bring the good news unto my flock. The things I do for my readers!


IJburg spans six artificial Islands in Amsterdam East. I’ve previously described the East part of the city as being depressing and difficult to get to, well all of this and more applies to the “mistakes on the lake” that make up IJburg.

Being artificial and relatively new, the area consists of many beautiful, newly-built apartment complexes, developed to a standard rarely seen in Amsterdam.

The apartments often come with underground car parking for residents, private gyms, swimming pools and entertainment facilities – something which is quite common in condominiums in Toronto or New York.

The Shallow Man knows people who live in IJburg, and they have beautiful apartments, but unfortunately, nothing else. The geniuses that developed the area only created a single main road/bridge that connects it with Amsterdam, so it is not uncommon to see traffic jams in the morning made up of people attempting to leave the neighborhood.

Unlike many other parts of Amsterdam, Ijburg lacks the vibrant bar, eetcafe and restaurant scene which is commonplace in most parts of the city. When in Ijburg, one can’t help but feeling as if you are wondering around a giant film set, so bereft is it of people or atmosphere.

“Yes but look at the quality of the apartments, they’re fantastic” is the common response from the residents of IJburg, and yes it’s a wonderful place to be if you choose never to step outside the confines of your private-gated golden cage.

Prior to the recession, much property development took place there, which has led to many now standing empty and available at competitive prices.

Nothing of any interest ever happens there. If you are planning to visit people that live there, arrive 30 minutes early, as the hunt for a suitable parking place can take some considerable time.

It’s so quiet there that during a cold winter a man slipped in his brown shoes on ice and lay frozen and undiscovered for several days.

There is a single solitary tram that goes to IJburg, or as it’s better known, the Island of the isolated.

Visit this island and you’ll find people in their lovely apartments, frozen for all eternity, trapped, knowing that it’s simply too much trouble to go anywhere else in Amsterdam and too plain tedious to step outside of their houses.

It’s the only place in Amsterdam that I’ll not give Taxi drivers a hard time for not knowing how to find places on the Island, after all only a hardcore group of the damned live there and are rarely visited.

If you are looking to live in a luxurious newly-built property, then this is definitely the place for you. However, be prepared to spend up to thirty to forty minutes to get to civilization and be prepared for the excuses of friends who’ll suddenly have last minute emergencies or other plans when they are scheduled to visit you. Other than that, it’s a nice place to live.

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