Across the River IJ from the historic centrum of Amsterdam is an area of Amsterdam-Noord called NDSM-Werf. The acronym stands for Nederlands Dok en Scheepsgebouw Maatschappij or the Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company. In its heyday, this modern-era company, would become world-renowned in the industry with the largest shipyard in Europe, continuing centuries of Dutch shipbuilding tradition.
NDSM went bankrupt in the 1980s and the wharf was abandoned for a time, leaving it with a desolate and postapocalyptic ambience. Though there has been an attempt to breathe a bit of life back into the docks, there are still warehouses in various stages of disrepair,
abandoned buses and tramcars rusting in the parking lot,
even a defunct submarine partially submerged in the river, and covering much of this, lots of colorful street art. Factions of Amsterdam’s art community have taken over the area and NDSM-Wharf has become in essence ‘one great art and culture laboratory’.
One of the larger buildings in the shipyard is the Lasloods, where the ships’ hulls were welded.
Considered the ‘Cathedral of NDSM’, the warehouse now houses a maze of artist studios, galleries and an elevated skate park.
This massive space is also used as a venue for concerts, fashion shows, and film and photo shoots.
Nearby is the old timmerwerkplaats or carpentry shop, now European headquarters of MTV Networks.
There is also Faralda Crane Hotel Amsterdam, the crane turned hotel/bungee-rope Jump platform.
Other warehouses serve as art galleries, like Vous Etes Ici which exhibits work by artists from the US, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the Netherlands.
Docked along the wharf, is the Amstel Botel, a floating ‘cruise ship’ of a hotel.
The MV Sirius which belongs to Greenpeace is also docked nearby. The Sirius was purchased from the Royal Dutch Navy and used by Greenpeace for many years before being decommissioned and put into service as an educational vessel.
Each year, NDSM-Wharf is the site of Over Het IJ Festival, an 11-day celebration of performing arts. Other cultural events taking place at NDSM include The Summer of Love, a multicultural expo of music, art and yoga, and Voltt Loves Summer, a music and dance festival. Be sure to check the NDSM-Werf official website for additional events, dates, times and ticket info.