Art and culture in NDSM
NDSM has been a hotspot for culture since the 1980s when Amsterdam’s edgy artistic community and creative entrepreneurs found a home in the disused shipyard buildings. Today NDSM conceals a bountiful array of artists’ cooperatives, workspaces, exhibition halls, eco-conscious initiatives, nightlife venues and project spaces - each adding their own innovations and energy to this rapidly developing area. Alongside the fixed museum spaces, galleries, vibrant graffiti murals and public art, throughout the year a host of pop-up events, festivals, parties and one-off exhibitions find their home at the wharf.
STRAAT is the first museum in the city dedicated entirely to street art. The collection was made possible by a dedicated team of graffiti enthusiasts who wanted to share their passion for this radical art form and reveal the fascinating untold stories behind each mural. Gape in awe at over 150 site-specific artworks spread throughout this converted hangar, some of which are as big as outdoor walls and painted by big international names.
De Kunststad (Art City) & NDSM Fuse
Managed by Kinetisch Noord, an arts foundation with roots in the squatting movement of the 1980s, NDSM Art City fosters the urban energy and creative output of Amsterdam. It’s a cultural and artistic breeding ground, (known as a broedplaats in Dutch) hosting around 80 workspaces and studios for roughly 250 artists and craftspeople. The events schedule is always worth keeping an eye on encompassing everything from open-studio days, photography fairs, fashion shows, dance performances, parties, markets, concerts and film shoots. NDSM FUse is the gigantic exhibition hall, part of NDSM Art City, which provides a space for the resident artists, designers and talent from further afield to present their work. Every three months, you can catch a new exhibition called the NDSM Expo to see what Amsterdam’s up-and-coming creative community has been getting up to. Each exhibition showcases a broad spectrum of artforms from mind-blowing installations, art and design to fascinating performance pieces, music and theatre.
Top tip: Every last Thursday of the month, don't miss NDSM Get Lost - an evening event in which all of the cultural partners and ateliers of NDSM open their doors for the evening.
Nieuw Dakota is an exhibition space for contemporary art with a versatile programme. The varied exhibitions, guided tours, educational programming, performances and lectures always challenge viewers to consider the world in new and challenging ways. There is a standard entrance fee of €4, but every last Thursday of the month, Nieuw Dakota is free to all visitors.
On the Inside Project Space
The cavernous hangars and converted warehouses at NDSM provide the perfect environment to display large-scale installations and contemporary art. On the Inside is no exception, a new artist-driven project space with a rotating curatorial programme. Expect to find a range of artists showcased, from those producing massive sculptural works and intense multimedia pieces to more visually subtle exhibitions.
*Please note: On the Inside Project Space is currently closed until March 2023.
Over ‘t IJ Festival
Every July, Over ‘t IJ festival brings a summery blend of inspirational theatre and fabulous food to a range of shipping container stages and pop-up venues spread across NDSM Wharf. The challenging programme encompasses short presentations, longer theatre performances and installations, ensuring there’s always something for everyone. The festival also specialises in location-specific theatre, giving you the chance to catch one-off shows on the most unexpected of stages.
Kinetisch Noord, NDSM Art City and the NDSM-Wharf Foundation regularly commission public art pieces hidden amongst NDSM’s former shipyard buildings. High above the old steel beams at the back of the listed Scheepsbouwloods building, you might be able to spot Henk Schut’s neon light work which one moment flashes niets (nothing) and the next moment iets (something). Or ‘Benched’, an installation produced in 2020 by Studio 212 Farenheit is a poetic representation of the 1.5-metre enforced distance during the pandemic. Take a seat and see if you can form a lasting encounter with a stranger. Check out this full map of artwork on view around the wharf.