The NDSM area in Amsterdam North has been around for over a hundred years. From industry to historic shipbuilding colossus. From an industrial construction site to an incubator for pioneering art. Over the past decades, countless creators, artists, cultural institutions, programming restaurants, new museum concepts and appealing initiatives for festival and cultural events have settled here. The extensive outdoor area offers space for wonder, connection and experimentation. As a free space for art and culture, but also as a space to wander around for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and the many visitors from home and abroad. Together, they make NDSM an inseparable whole: the city's cultural incubator, and the bustling heart of old, new and future urban neighborhoods.


The NDSM-werf Foundation was founded in 2009 and has the task of the municipality to ensure both the physical management and the cultural accessibility of the countryside. The foundation does this with the conviction that Amsterdam needs places like this: where old and new meet, where public space really belongs to everyone and is not swallowed up by private interests. Where you can browse and experiment, where there is room for culture and experimentation. Where festivals and a safe living environment coexist and where heritage and free space give a voice to history and (counter-) culture.


As a programmer, director and facilitator, the NDSM-werf Foundation is committed to collaborating and coordinating with cultural parties at NDSM. The foundation is the central hub in setting up both sitewide and specific cooperation programs. Stichting Kinetisch Noord (NDSM Loods), New Dakota, STRAAT, NDSM-fuse (in the NDSM-warehouse), Over het IJ and the Treehouse breeding ground are the direct cultural partners at NDSM with regular consultation and coordination. Support from funds and partners is essential for the NDSM-werf Foundation. Thanks to this support, we can continue to build on the cultural programming at NDSM and the future of the NDSM Cultuurwerf.

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A journey through NDSM's rich history

Source: stichting ndsm-herleeft


Origin: Shipyard

De Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NDSM), of which the Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NSM) and the Nederlandsche Dok Maatschappij (NDM) were precursors, was a shipyard for shipbuilding, ship repair, equipment and mechanical engineering in Amsterdam-Noord, respectively. The shipyard existed between 1894 and 1979 and grew into the largest shipyard in the Netherlands during that time.



In 1910, the world's first tanker powered by diesel engines was built on the NSM. As there was a demand for larger ships, space problems arose and also the reason to look for a different location. In 1915, the municipality of Amsterdam authorized the construction of a new shipyard across the IJ. Due to the First World War, the relocation of the NSM shipyard could not take place immediately. In addition, the site first had to be equipped with ramps, workshops and sheds.



On December 17, 1920, a new company was established on the north side of the IJ on the western part of the new site next to the NSM, called Nederlandsche Dok Maatschappij (NDM). At that time, there was a growing demand for seagoing ships, which is why sufficient space was needed in the field of shipbuilding. In addition to shipbuilding, people were intensively involved in ship repair, bridge building and the production of (steam) machines in their own machine factory.


IJ-oever relocation

Because the shipyards were an important hub of activity, Tuindorp Oostzaan was built primarily for NSM and NDM employees. In 1923, the NSM moved to the north side of the IJ bank and started production at the new location. The first launch took place on July 28 of the same year.


World War II

During the Second World War, the shipyards continued to work and, due to the occupation by the Germans, had to do this mainly for the German navy and merchant marine. In 1944, one month after the celebration of NSM's 50th anniversary, the shipyard was largely destroyed by the Germans. After the war, the shipyard was rebuilt and the first cargo ship was launched in 1947; many more would follow, including various naval ships, oil tankers, mammoth tankers and container ships.



NDM and NSM decided to work together on February 27, 1946 under the current name NDSM (Nederlandsche Dok and Scheepsbouw Maatschappij), but they remained two independent production companies. The company had its own training institute where people were trained to become welders, bankers, metalworkers, model makers, etc. Nearly every ship launched was larger or more innovative than its predecessor.



As the demand for larger ships increased, it became more difficult to remain competitive globally. For example, NDSM was bound to the dimensions of the locks and was unable to build larger ships. In addition, wages in Eastern Europe, among others, were much lower and air traffic also had an influence on changing demand. Doing business at a good price was practically impossible. Various attempts were made to save shipbuilding in Amsterdam, but in 1968, NDSM was forced to merge with Verolme United Shipyards in Rotterdam.


Destruction of Shipyard

In 1979, the last mammoth tanker and two container ships were built. These were more or less the last major NDSM shipbuilding activities. In the same year, the curtain fell for both NSM (shipbuilding) and NDM (ship repair). Once the largest shipyard in the Netherlands ceased to exist. And there was a takeover by Shipdock Amsterdam, which merged into Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam a few years later. To date, maintenance and ship repairs are still carried out at Damen.



Since 2009, the eastern part of the NDSM has been a historical heritage; the still existing buildings from that time have received a national monument status, as well as the slopes, finger piers and production rails. For more information about the current NDSM, visit the CULTURE page on this website.