Art and culture in Bos en Lommer & De Baarsjes
Bos en Lommer and De Baarsjes are quickly developing, with a wealth of galleries, theatres and cool cultural establishments opening up in recent years that cater to an arty crowd. Students, musicians and artists rub shoulders in the area’s exhibition spaces and performance venues, firmly securing this area with a reputation as one of the most dynamic creative outposts in Amsterdam-West.
This enormous indoor space hidden in the heart of the city was first opened in 1934 as the main trading centre for fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The building has stood empty for the last 20 years, but is now being repurposed into a lively meeting place for foodies, local entrepreneurs and creatives working in culture, fashion, music and theatre. Check out the agenda for live music and food events. There’s even a mini train that will transfer you to and from the entrance gate. On one side of the depot building you can also spot a colossal mural painted by Keith Haring in 1986, one of his few surviving public works, that was recently uncovered and restored. And if you’re returning to Amsterdam in 2025, be sure to check out how the area has developed into a full-blown residential district, the Marktkwartier West.
No Man's Art Gallery & Bar
This dynamic exhibition space is a welcome addition to a rapidly developing corner of Bos en Lommer. What started as a travelling pop-up gallery in 2011, No Man's Art Gallery now has a permanent location and continues to showcase a rotating programme of international early-career artists. After catching a show, the restaurant and bar is a great place to unwind with a cocktail or a coffee whilst the elegant lunch and evening menus carefully balance flavours from across the world.
Those lucky enough to be in town whilst there’s an exhibition on, should definitely see what’s up at Gallery Mercatorplein. In partnership with Amsterdam-West council, internationally renowned museum Foam transforms this public square into an open air photo exhibition that’s freely accessible to the diverse community of De Baarsjes. Each work is blown up to an intimidating scale so that tiny details can be appreciated, whilst scannable QR codes provide viewers with more information about the artists and subjects. The iconic architectural surroundings of Mercatorplein with its 1920s red brick buildings make the experience quite unique.
Located in a former church on the Bos en Lommerweg, Podium Mozaïek embraces the multiculturalism and diversity that shines in this part of Amsterdam. Their broad programme includes music, theatre, dance, exhibitions, and spoken word with a focus on language-no-problem performances. The sunny café-restaurant terrace is a fantastic meeting place, serving a range of international dishes and drinks throughout the day. On weekends, the traditional Turkish brunch with its tasty assortiment of hot and cold mezze and unlimited tea is highly recommended.
DeLaMar West is the westerly outpost for the DeLaMar Theatre. As a neighbourhood theatre, the focus is on developing young talent with a focus on musicals and musical theatre. What’s extra special is that the programme frequently includes special performances that you can only experience in this location including previews and shows that are specially developed for the location.
The ZID Theatre is a performing ats and cultural organisation that aims to brings the community together, develop urban talents and break down borders. Check the programme for a range of multidisciplinary performances and projects by local talents including the annual ExploreZ festival.
Keith Haring mural
Amsterdam’s evolving street art scene holds constant surprises. This large mural depicting a fantastical creature with a fish-like tail was painted by Keith Haring in 1986 on the side of a market depot. Stretching a to colossal 15m wide, the artwork is one of the artist’s few surviving public works. The work was initially concealed by an aluminium wall but after much lobbying from local enthusiasts it was finally brought into the daylight in 2018 and more recently restored. You’ll need to head over to the parking lot at Willem de Zwijgerlaan on Karel Doormanstraat to view this impressive piece.
De Baarsjes is home to several striking buildings in the Amsterdam School style, an architectural movement of the early 20th century rooted in socialist ideals. Het Sieraad and Jeruzalemkerk are considered to be real highlights from this period, whilst the apartment blocks and government buildings around Mercatorplein and along Hoofdweg carry their own iconic 1920s appeal. There are plenty of resources in the city to learn more about this fascinating period in design history including guided tours organised by Museum Het Schip. Alternatively, pick up one of the museum’s route maps and take a walk around the neighbourhood at your own pace.