Amsterdam's three western islands are the Bickers, Prinsen and Realeneiland. They were created in the early 17th century for warehousing. Many of the warehouses have now been converted into flats.

Bickerseiland still has a few traces of its boat building past and Galgenstraat, on Prinseneiland was where the gallows were situated.

The open view to the IJ from Zandhoek (once home to the sand market and now a very pretty row of 17th century houses) has now been largely blocked off by a huge development of smart flats - pretty out of proportion from this side but impressive from the water front.

If you can find someone to rent you a boat, the western islands still contain parts of what I would call unspoiled Amsterdam - little pockets of anarchy.