The NDSM werf
The NDSM werf is a large industrial complex, situated along the IJ in Amsterdam Noord. It used to be the location where ships were constructed and repaired, and was among the largest wharves in the world. Nowadays, the NDSM werf is a creative hotspot where art, culture and recreation come together. Let's have a closer look at this beautiful piece of industrial heritage.
The Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij
After the bankrupcy of one of the bigger wharves of Amsterdam, it was decided in 1894 to start the Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (NSM, or Dutch Ship Construction company) to provide employment for the workers who lost their jobs. The first 25 years, the NSM was managed by Daniel Goedkoop, who had previously gained a lot of experience with building ships. Initially, the wharf was located at the Oosterdok, but due to lack of space it had to be relocated to the north of the IJ; It even got so far that some cellars of houses along Rokin were flooded during the launch of a large ship in the old wharf. In Noord, the company quickly grew to become the biggest wharf in the world in 1937. The NSM constructed the first diesel-powered oil-tanker (the "Vulcanus" in 1910), and the passengerboat "Oranje" that set a speed record of 48 km/hour in 1939.
Reorganization and Bankrupcy
1946 saw the fusion of NSM with the Nederlands Dok Maatschappij (NDM, a company that repaired ships), thereby creating the NDSM. The shipbuilding and repair facilities maintained their independence, and were located at NDSM East and NDSM West respectively. During this period the company mainly constructed oil-tankers (for Shell) and large freightships. It also delivered some ships to the Dutch Royal Navy. During the '60s and '70s the company went through several merges, eventually ending as a part of a Rotterdam-based company. This period saw the construction of a large number of very large oil-tankers.
Unfortunately, the economic situation for shipbuilding in the Netherlands quickly became worse, and in 1978 the unprofitable NDSM divisions of ship construction were closed. The company made a short restart with 400 employers under the old name NSM, but was closed in 1984.
The years following the bankrupcy saw the refitting of some old docks for the facilitation of ship repair. The abandoned building were squated by artists, who eventually organized themselves in the Stichting Kinetisch Noord. They became the owners of several large buildings in 2006, making them officially responsible for this part of the NDSM wharf. The NDSM terrain hosts several festivals (Over het IJ Festival, Valtifest) and markets (IJ-hallen, the largest flea market in Europe). The old woodworks was renovated and seats the headquarters of MTV Networks. There are also several restaurants and bars (IJ-kantine, Noorderlicht and PLLEK), and since oktober 2013 there is the Faralda NDSM Crane Hotel with three suites in an old crane.
There is a complex with containerhouses, as a more economic alternative to the herenhuizen along the canal belt, and even an old Russian submarine. This changed the NDSM wharf from an old industrial complex into a lively center for art and culture in Amsterdam. The future will see the further development of this area with housing and industrie.
Did you like what you have read? Share this page! Prints available via the Prints page.
Back to Spotlight