Art and culture in Nieuw-West
In recent decades, diverse creative initiatives have sprung up amidst the former business parks and urban sprawl of Nieuw-West, rejuvenating the area into one of the most exciting cultural destinations in town. On top of museums dedicated to urban art and architecture, you’ll find venues for electronic music and underground nightlife, radical art exhibition spaces and some excellent community-focused theatres and performing arts centres.
Van Eesteren Museum
Devoted entirely to architect and urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren, the Van Eesteren Museum is a collection of indoor pavilions and open-air exhibits encompassing houses, gardens and entire suburbs. The museum gives insight into Van Eesteren’s ambitious plans for the extension of Amsterdam, showcasing the neighbourhood of Nieuw West as the pinnacle of post-war urban development and architecture.
RADION is a multidisciplinary creative haven, located in a former medical office building and hosting everything from sword-fighting workshops to booming techno nights. You’ll find a steady flow of art, music, dance and other cultural events on the agenda as well as cinema screenings and a café/bar serving lunch, dinner and drinks.
Meervaart Theatre is the beating heart of Nieuw West’s cultural scene, as both a platform for the performing arts and important social space. This modern venue hosts around 280 cultural performances per year, including shows by big international touring companies, homegrown multicultural cabaret acts and a special children’s talent development programme.
See what the art world’s rising stars have been getting up to at De Appel, a dynamic cultural centre that is home to one of the most well-regarded curatorial residencies around the globe. The public programming is always varied and challenging, giving emerging curators a platform to engage with the local community and some fascinating contemporary debates. You can expect exhibitions that are critical, experimental and politically switched on, so put your thinking cap on and go take in some brilliant art.
Street Art Museum
The Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) has been established for nearly a decade as a community-based, eco-museum that uses street art as a tool for dialogue between locals and visitors. Dotted amongst the urban sprawl, you’ll find a collection of more than 300 artworks, from tiny graffiti pieces to monumental murals. Walking tours depart daily at 11:00, guided by a museum researcher who will reveal the stories behind each artwork. Or, you can purchase a map to explore the collection on your own.
Built from bright red shipping containers surrounding a beautiful garden with a focus on sustainability, BRET is a restaurant, urban vineyard and beer bar that is well worth checking out. When the time is right, the venue also transforms into an intimate nightclub, hosting some of the most exciting local DJs alongside international names. Keep an eye on the agenda, particularly around major festivals like Amsterdam Dance Event, and you’re sure to be swept up into the magic of this one-of-a-kind space.
Amaze is a new audiovisual experience created from lasers, lights, smoke, new media art and impressive visuals. Make your way through the immersive labyrinth spread across seven rooms of a fascinating building; the Elementenstraat location was once the offices of a peanut roasting company and later became a notorious illegal rave location. The interactive experience is suitable for all ages, promising a journey “from head to heart”.
Speaking of illegal raves, back in the day, Warehouse Elementenstraat hosted the first illegal gabber parties in Amsterdam. Now the venue is a highly regarded spot for cutting edge electronic music in the Netherlands, living proof of the power and resilience of clubbing culture. With its modular, multi-roomed interior, the space captures the intimacy of a nightclub, combined with an indoor festival feeling.
Housed in a former school, Lola Luid is a cultural incubator and breeding ground where each classroom has a different purpose. One might be a performance stage or an artist's workshop whilst others have been transformed into a shop or hair salon. Keep a close eye on the agenda for changing exhibitions, workshops, sports activities, small-scale festivals, events and concerts.
DeLaMar West (on the border of Bos en Lommer and Nieuw West) is the westerly outpost for the DeLaMar Theatre. As a neighbourhood theatre, the focus is on developing young talent focusing on musicals and musical theatre. What’s extra special is that the programme frequently includes special performances that you can only experience in West, including previews and shows specially developed for the location.
At the meeting point of Bos en Lommer and Nieuw West, the ZID Theatre is a performing arts centre and cultural organisation that aims to bring the community together and dissolve borders. Check the programme for a range of multidisciplinary performances and projects by local talents, including the annual ExploreZ festival.