Walk Amsterdam’s NDSM
NDSM has become the cultural and creative hotspot of Amsterdam. In the past, the area was used to build and repair ships. Today, NDSM holds many galleries, great restaurants, numerous art pieces and great architecture – all that with an amazing view of the IJ water and the city skyline. Coming from the city, the NDSM ferry is the easiest and most fun way to get there; not to mention it’s totally free.
During the walk you will be able to explore some of the art that NDSM has to offer. You will see great architecture, explore some of Amsterdam’s best restaurants, see lots of cool graffiti art, and a ton of other loopy stuff. Start or end your tour with some delicious ice cream, to cool down during the hot summer days.
Enjoy your walk!
⏱️ Total Walking Time: 37 min
🧭 Directions: Hit this Link, then click the top right corner of the map to open full screen in Google Maps
FYI: the technology behind Google Maps is sometimes a bit shaky, so sometimes you need to click the link more than once, or zoom in to get the route view. Apologies for the inconvenience.
☕ Best Roast en Route: Noorderlicht
Noorderlicht is a real creative hotspot. Its restaurant and terrace oversee the IJ river as well as the city. Noorderlicht hosts a plethora of events, such as concerts, tiny festivals, workshops etc. The restaurant tries to be as sustainable as possible and mainly uses local products. The menu has a great focus on vegetarian as well as vegan foods, but dishes containing meats are also available for the carnivores among us. The jazz music, alternative appearance, amazing food, and the terrace’s view on the water make Noorderlicht one of the coolest highlights in the city.
Highlight A: Botel
This Boat Hotel or ‘Botel’ contains some very particular rooms on the rooftop. Hidden in the big red BOTEL letters you will find some creative rooms, all with their own theme. The letter ‘B’ was made for the skate lovers and thus contains a halfpipe. The ‘O’ was made for the more Kinky guests. Above the round bed hangs a mirror so you can see yourself while laying down. Next to the bed is a nice bathtub and on the bed rails you will find some interesting kinky utensils. ‘T’ is more professional and as the website describes, is created for: “people who can’t leave their work home.” This room contains a meeting table. Letter ‘E’ provides the perfect cinematic room; you have the choice to enjoy movies on your big screen from either the two king sized beds or the broad bathtub. Lastly, ‘L’ is designed in minimalist Japanese style, with rooms containing just one color and little detail. This way, you can not only rest your body after exploring Amsterdam but also rest your eyes.
Highlight B: The Veronica Boat
The Veronica boat was in use to transmit an illegal radio station in the 60s and 70s. Around that time, the only radio stations allowed were those operated by the national government. Radio Veronica started as VRON, Vrije Radio Omroep Nederland (Free Radio Broadcaster Netherlands), and was soon changed to Veron and then Veronica. The radio broadcaster was widely popular among the younger generations. They played the newest music hits, were famous for their top 40 lists, and also their DJs were widely known and loved. Veronica worked from the North Sea, so that they were not on Dutch land when illegally broadcasting their show. Soon, a lot more competition joined Veronica on sea. The competition became so intense that one of the pirate radio boats was bombed, probably commissioned by one of the stakeholders of Veronica. After this, a new pirate law made it practically impossible for the stations to exist. Seems about right.
Highlight C: Kraanspoor
The architects of this long building wanted to create a nice contrast between the old crane track that was formerly used to build ships and the new modern office building. This seemingly floating and transparent construction delivers a great view over the IJ water. The gigantic inside offers over 10.000 m2 of office space.
Het Kraanspoor is also built sustainably. The IJ water is used to warm the offices during the winter and used to cool down the offices in Summer. Het Kraanspoor has won multiple architectural awards, for its glass construction, its steel construction, and its sustainability.
Highlight D: Street Art Highlight
NDSM is the creative centre of Amsterdam. Famous for its festivals in summer and its art all year round. Around this highlight you will find the most highly concentrated amount of street art in the city and it is not limited to this point on the map. On the other side of this building, close to the ferry, you can find a big graffiti painting of Anna Frank from 2016. Further to the east of NDSM you will find different works of art, such as the recent art of the supernurse. The supernurse is portrayed wearing a face mask with a superman ‘S’ on it, in honor of the health employees that worked hard during this pandemic.
Highlight E: Flea Market at IJ-hallen & IJver
The IJ-hallen were formerly the warehouses and manufacturing location for the ships being built on this industrial complex. The large buildings lend itself well for Europe’s biggest flea market, containing over 750 stalls. The market takes place once or twice every month. On the market you will be able to find all kinds of products, from clothes, to clocks, to plates, to books. The ambiance is always great. There are food trucks serving lunch or when you feel like having a snack.
In case there is no market, there is a great new restaurant to discover in the same building: IJver. This industrial-looking restaurant is great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have a wide selection of wine and beer, with 32 beers on tap. The architectural design on the inside is beautiful and something you should not miss.
Highlight F: Nederlandse Dok & Scheepvaart Maatschappij
The Dutch shipbuilding company, or NSM, was founded in 1884 and grew immensely. Too big for its old location it moved to Amsterdam Noord – where you are standing right now. Later NSM merged with NDM (Dutch Dock Company) to become NDSM. NDSM grew out to be the biggest shipyard in the world, in the 30s of last century. NDSM was responsible for building and repairing ships from all over the world. In 1968, NDSM was merged with the VVSW, a collection of shipbuilding companies in Rotterdam. From then on NDSM was controlled from Rotterdam. The company went into decline and went bankrupt in the 80s. Part of the abandoned yards were occupied by squatters in the 90s. The squatters, mainly artists, created a breeding ground for all types of arts. The large amounts of art pieces, galleries and art events show that NDSM is still the creative center of the city.
Highlight G: Pllek
Pllek is a great restaurant with a great view of the IJ water. The chefs try to keep their ecological footprint as small as possible, by using local foods and cultivating some of the vegetables themselves. The meat on the menu is strictly biological while the fish is locally caught in the North Sea. Besides good food, they love their live music. DJs and music artists are often welcomed to give visitors an amazing time on the terrace and in the restaurant. On Sunday mornings you also have the possibility to do your sun salutations during their Yoga sessions.
Highlight H: IJscuypje 🍦
IJscuypje is one of the best ice cream makers in the city. They make all of their ice cream and sorbets themselves. For their ice cream, they solely use Jersey cow milk. Jersey milk tastes a little different than other cow milks, because it contains a little more natural fats. That is what gives their ice cream such a creamy taste. The Jersey milk is of course biologically produced. The sorbets contain 60% fruit and are really flavorful. Of course the sorbets are completely vegan and the perfect refreshment for a hot summer’s day – or a cold winter day, because you just can’t get enough.
Your Fav Hidden Gems
The above highlights are just some of our favorite spots along the way. If something catches your eye while en route, share a picture with us so we can share with the group next week. Email is the best.
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