From a rugged shipyard to a creative hotspot
NDSM is the historical remainder of the largest shipyard in Amsterdam, now developing itself into a creative city at the north bank of the IJ river. Where dozens of famous ships and supertankers slid off-ramp in the twentieth century, events such as Over het IJ Festival, Valtifest and NDSM Vrijhaven are hosted today as well as monumental art in public space. In the massive NDSM hangar, artists are working in the Kunststad (Art City), the largest breeding site in the Netherlands. In ancient workshops (IJkantine) and new temporary buildings (Noorderlicht, Pllek) you can eat, drink and party at the river bank, enjoying the best view of Amsterdam. National Historic Landmarks such as the Timmerwerkplaats (Carpentry Workshop) and the Smederij (Blacksmith) and be transformed into the trendy offices by top architects and host MTV, Red Bull and IDTV among others. Where buildings were demolished, new offices (hosting HEMA, VNU Media and Rough Cookie for example), residents, restaurants, retail, a marina, social facilities, etc.
The Wharf feeling
NDSM is a workplace. It has been and it will be. It’s an area where people are ‘creating': the artists in the Kunststad, the HEMA with its typically Dutch products, numerous large and small creative businesses. An NDSM initiative will bring stuff forward. It will seduce you. It has a twist, it is unique and out of the box. It operates at the intersection of art, new technology and sustainability. NDSM inspires, not only through its raw industrial character, but also because there is something in the air. Everyone feels it. Creativity. Positivity. An experimental, entrepreneurial spirit. The panoramic view creates space. Space where everyone can let ideas flow freely. Dividing lines blur: between live and work, between culture and commerce, between water and land, between old and new. Therefore NDSM is a place and a community that invites and inspires, not only the north part of Amsterdam, but the entire city.
Long ago, this area was all water. The NDSM story began in the nineteenth century with land that was sprayed in the IJ. For a century, ships were built here, at the largest shipyard in Amsterdam. Whole neighborhoods in North Amsterdam, including Tuindorp Oostzaan, were built to house the wharf employees. The district is closely interwoven with the industry. The Nederlandse Droogdok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company) went bankrupt in 1984 after a restart as NSM. In the nineties artists, squatters and skaters filed a plan to temporarily fill the gigantic void area. The Kunststad was born, the largest breeding place in the Netherlands. Then came special restaurants and cafes Small and larger companies. NDSM was ‘hip’. Today, together with the South Axis and the town center, NDSM is one of the three most wanted development areas of Amsterdam. The story continues.
The NDSM wharf has the promise to grow continuously as a gravity center of urban creative energy. NDSM remains an experimental urban environment, a self-made city. Frayed edges are cherished and development goes on without a clearly defined goal, but from strict conceptual starting points. With respect for history (a part of the Wharf is declared National Monument in 2008), the space and the outlook. Maximally sustainable and self-sufficient. There are areas and sight-lines, open areas with lots of space for temporality and culture (NDSM Oost) and more intensively cultivated areas (NDSM West) for living, working and retail. Here at the IJ is lived, worked, made and enjoyed. NDSM will not finish and remains in motion.