Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
What's on
See and do
Travel and stay
City Card and tickets
Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
People cycling past IJhallen Pfizer Doors
Image from Koen Smilde Photography

Things to do in NDSM

Transformed from an industrial shipyard into a vibrant social space, NDSM conceals a wealth of activities all packed into a tight area. Dispersed amongst the shipping containers and graffiti-emblazoned hangars, you’ll find trendy beach bars, eco-conscious restaurants and spectacular waterside cafes to chill at. The neighbourhood hosts some of the city’s best festivals, one of the largest flea markets in Europe and some impressive venues for culture, getting active, and an open-air cinema. For curious urban explorers looking for a different image of Amsterdam that couldn’t be further from canals and tulips, NDSM is a great place to start.

Bask in the sun on the beach

Noorderlicht terrace
Image from Joris Raaijman

Take a break and lounge on the sand without ever leaving Amsterdam. Pllek is a fantastic bar-restaurant constructed from old shipping containers with an urban beach that extends along the IJ. On sultry summer evenings, the agenda encompasses everything from live music to open-air movie screenings. Nearby, Noorderlicht, a greenhouse-turned-café, offers an ample riverside biergarten with a vegetarian-friendly menu and sweeping riverside views.

Read our round-up of the best terraces in Amsterdam Noord for more tips on where to sip a waterside beer.

Hunt for vintage treasures

Man and woman selling clothes at IJhallen
Image from Nichon Gerlum

The industrial history and artistic community of the NDSM neighbourhood have turned it into a treasure trove for vintage and antique goods. Spend hours wandering the IJ-Hallen flea market, the largest in Europe, where hundreds of stalls hawk everything from clothes and jewellery to kitchen supplies and memorabilia. Nearby, Woodies aT BerLin is a brilliant place to browse for second-hand, handmade items, upcycled chairs and lighting. Next door, Neef Louis fills its 2,000 metres of space with vintage industrial furniture lighting and design pieces.

Cycle through Dutch countryside

De Twiskemolen in Het Twiske is located between Landsmeer and Oostzaan.
Image from Koen Smilde

NDSM is the gateway to some exceptionally lush Dutch countryside, with all the windmills, quaint villages, cows and greenery that your heart could ask for. There are several spots to rent bikes in Amsterdam and various scenic cycle routes heading towards the Het Twiske and Waterland nature areas. The best thing of all, as with most of the Netherlands, is that the landscape is completely flat and perfect for peddling. Cruise along the polders, admiring extensive meadows of grazing cattle and wetlands with waterbirds, before heading back to NDSM for a hard-earned beer in the sun.

Feel the good vibes at a festival

Over het IJ Festival 2019 people sitting in the food area
Image from Moon Saris

Watch the vast spaces of NDSM Wharf transform into a hub of activity during the many festivals that occur throughout the year, all catering to different cultural expressions. Don't miss the Over het IJ theatre festival in July, which takes place over ten days at pop-up venues across the docklands. Watch NDSM Loods transform into an extra-large public workshop for Ambacht in Beeld Festival in September, where over 90 international artisans and craftsmen will give masterclasses and demonstrations. Marvel at everything from clothing repair workshops and Turkish ceramics or marbling paper and embroidery. Families can also head to Noorderlicht on Ascension Day for kid-friendly circus festivities during Hemeltjelief.

Roam through an art city

NDSM Art City Kunststad NDSM Loods
Image from Sarah Payton

Art has become synonymous with this part of Amsterdam Noord, partly due to initiatives like Art City NDSM. A hub for urban energy and creative output, it’s a cultural and artistic breeding ground (broedplaats in Dutch) hosting around 80 workspaces and studios for roughly 250 artists and craftspeople. Keep an eye out for everything from open-studio days, photography fairs and fashion shows to dance performances, parties and markets.

Dance, dance, dance

DJ's in the booth during DGTL Festival 2022.
Image from Kirsten van Santen

NDSM Wharf is a major meeting point for electronic music fans in Amsterdam, with a wealth of pop-up clubs and outdoor festivals finding their home in the industrial surroundings throughout the year. DGTL is a three-day dance music extravaganza, presenting a rich range of first-rate house and techno acts with an emphasis on artistic features. During Amsterdam Dance Event, NDSM’s bountiful warehouses, hangars and outdoor spaces host various parties and special nights, including the unmissable two-day Into The Woods event. And speaking of heading into the woods, Lente Kabinet (the little sister festival to Dekmantel) unfolds in the stunning surroundings of Het Twiske, which is just a short jaunt into the wilderness from NDSM.

Stay in (or bungee jump from) an industrial crane.

View of on the Crane Hotel
Image from Jan de Ridder

If you’re interested in one-of-a-kind experiences, the Faralda Crane Hotel is one of Amsterdam’s most exceptional and exclusive hotels. There’s no mistaking what this hotel used to be: a massive industrial crane looming tall over NDSM Wharf. The hotel now boasts three luxurious suites, each hanging 30-plus metres in the air. Guests also get exclusive access to a sky-high hot tub, where they can soak in solitude under a starlit sky. But even if you’re not staying there, you can still glimpse the impressive view — but only briefly, as you’ll be too busy bungee jumping off the 50-metre platform.

Get your sweat on

People taking a Yoga class during 24H Noord
Image from Koen Smilde

After a long night of dancing by the water, there’s nothing better to wake the body up again than a bit of morning stretching. You’ll find some great yoga studios in the area, including Yoga School Noord NDSM. The neighbourhood’s favourite beach bar, Pllek keeps on giving with its Sunday morning yoga sessions on the sand (or indoors if the weather isn’t good). Also nearby, NDSM Padel is a great place to try out a new racket sport with indoor courts and equipment rental. If you’d rather get competitive with a funky cocktail in hand, Blast Galaxy is a retro arcade bar packed with classic games like Donkey Kong, Mario and Mortal Kombat - manoeuvring all those joysticks will undoubtedly work up a good sweat.

Learn about urban agriculture and eco-projects

Excellent coffee and a crash course in sustainability? Café de Ceuvel is an organic restaurant that uses kitchen waste to fertilise its garden. Along with great food and drinks by the water, you’ll find several showcases of cleantech, including a hydroponics greenhouse and composters. Just west of NDSM, the NoordOogst Urban Agriculture Project is home to several fascinating initiatives that inspire more green thinking. Eat freshly plucked veggies, sip local beers and delicious wines at POF, a restaurant that only serves produce grown in its immediate surroundings (except coffee and cinnamon). Nearby, the Friekens Brewery beer garden is an idyllic spot to sample fresh beers made using traditional recipes and natural ingredients grown locally.

Admire impressive murals and street art

STRAAT graffiti and street art museum artworks
Image from Mirte Vreemann

NDSM abounds with artistic expression, and the transformed shipyard is one of the best spots for graffiti and street art in the city. New pieces emblazon sheds and shipping containers almost weekly, and the second you step off the ferry, the colossal Let Me Be Myself mural of Anne Frank by Eduardo Kobra smiles down on you. Dedicated entirely to this urban art form, STRAAT Museum is a great place to start if you want to see more. You won’t be thinking, ‘I could have painted that’ as you explore this cavernous space filled with over 150 site-specific works, some of which reach the ceiling.

For more tips on cultural hotspots in the area, read our dedicated guide.