NDSM Wharf

A must on the list of places you want to visit when in Amsterdam.

The NDSM Wharf is a very important piece of Amsterdam’s history. Amsterdam has always been a harbour city with a lot of ships coming in and out and many of  these were made at the NDSM Wharf. Some of the most advanced ships in the world were made here until the ’80s, when trouble started to rise at the docks. For the next 20 years or so the NDSM Wharf was abandoned and mostly
inhabited by drug addicts and prostitutes. However, even in the darkness of that period, there was definitely some light as well.

The wharf is filled with street art and the decay of the buildings gives it a very cool look and this derelict but creative aspect gave a reason for investors to make the NDSM Wharf great again. In 2007 it started to become a creative area, beginning with some warehouses being made available for artists to produce their art. Over the next 10 years the creativity at the NDSM Wharf blossomed and nowadays many of Amsterdam’s hip young things have decamped to the disused dockyards and there’s a whiff of East Berlin about the neighbourhood. The best parties are held in the area and there are a bunch of places to have drinks and dinner by the water.  Here are some of our favourite hot spots!

Pllek is like an urban beach restaurant by the water at the NDSM Wharf. They love their vegetables,
because their menu is almost entirely vegetarian. The reason for the green menu is their respect for animals, people and the environment and so they choose to use organic and plant-based products. They do have some dishes with meat or fish, but only using animals who have lived in the wild. They hope to make guests curious for the variety that the vegetarian kitchen has to offer. Because of their spot by the water, Pllek has a beach-like atmosphere with lots of colour and sand of course. They also present lots of live music, like music festivals or a band playing during dinner. They also show international films from time to time and have regular yoga classes.

The colourful crane is the biggest eye-catcher of the NDSM Wharf. The crane was used to build ships in the past, but lately it’s become a real landmark for the dockyard. A couple of years ago the crane was supposed to be taken down, but after a great deal of protest, a new purpose was found for the beautiful mechanism. Amazingly, the crane is now a luxurious hotel with just one room and jacuzzi!  You can try to book this room, but be ready to wait for an eternity and spend all your savings.

Noorderlicht (which means Northern Light in Dutch) is of course also close to the water which makes it a very nice spot. They have a really relaxed vibe going on and a lot of alternative cultures and music during the day. The decor is constructed like a greenhouse so there is a lot of daylight and a touch of nature. It is a great place for creative people to come together and have dinner and/or drinks.

Every two weeks at the NDSM Wharf there is a enormous event called the IJ-halls. Here you can wander around the dockyards through all sorts of vintage and secondhand stalls with people selling their stuff. It’s probably the coolest vintage market you will ever see! It is the biggest flea market in Europe and the event takes all weekend. Because the event is so huge, everybody can find something cool to take home for a very fair price and as most of the market is inside the warehouses, it’s also a great excuse to see the inside of the decayed buildings!