A new cultural hub in the Amsterdam Area
Hembrugterrein is a cultural centre housing several restaurants, museums and creative venues. Formerly derelict, the site acted as a base for a munition factory since 1985, producing artillery and firearms for the Dutch army. After years of vacancy, the site opened to the public again in 2014. Bordering Amsterdam and Zaandam, the rejuvenated complex now offers visitors a wealth of fascinating places to discover – with cultural centre Het Hem as the focal point of its artistic activities. HEMbrug refers to the former railway bridge across the North Sea Canal between Zaandam and Amsterdam. HEM is the historical name for land outside the dykes, in this case in the former IJ.
Het Hem is a new home for contemporary culture in a former ball factory. It runs an ever-changing line-up of multidisciplinary art programs. These programmes change with the seasons, as every three months a new artist residency will help write another ‘chapter’ in Het HEM's story, and there’ll be an ever-changing line up of events focusing on everything from the visual arts to dance, music, theatre and philosophy. In addition to its exhibition spaces, the centre has a living room with library, coffee bar and reading table, a restaurant with terrace and a hi-fi bar which hosts DJs and live acts. Het HEM’s Restaurant Europa has only 26 seats and serves a set eight-course menu, mainly cooked in or over a fire.
Museum of Humanity
The result of a dream photographer Ruben Timman had in 2001, the Museum of Humanity features dozens of portraits he has shot of people all over the world. A visit to this startling, thought-provoking institution poses questions about the nature of art, culture and even what it means to be human. The museum is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Whether relaxing on its sunny terrace or taking shelter in the industrialist interior, Lab-44 offers an experience designed to linger long in the memory (and mouth). As well as a brasserie menu featuring Dutch classics and international cuisine, there are also specialist pizzas which are whipped straight onto your plate from the Italian-made Valoriani oven and special beers from local van Hoop and Breugem breweries. If you want to get your hands doughy (not dirty), then Lab-44 also offers pizza workshops.
Located in an old transformer building on the Hembrug site and built by volunteers, BIND offers a retreat to unwind and enjoy spending time with friends and strangers while perhaps exploring something new. As a ‘living laboratory’ for new projects, you might just stumble across some music, poetry, storytelling or art taking place at BIND when you visit.
Other things to see at Hembrugterrein
You can dine on some delicious Dutch delicacies at Cafetaria Hembrug, a household name in the local area due to its superlative snacks. Or why not try some of the best fries you’ve ever tasted at Frites Uit Zuyd? If that wasn’t enough, there’s the HEMbrug Market international food court, as well as ateliers, galleries, shops and museums to explore.
How to get to Hembrugterrein
It takes just 30 minutes or so to get from Amsterdam Central Station to Hembrugterrein. For the quickest way by public transport see Google Maps. To make the most of your day exploring, take advantage of the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket, which offers unlimited travel on buses, trams, trains and metros in the Amsterdam Area for 24 hours for just € 19.50.