Always something to see and do at Amsterdam’s favorite cultural haven NDSM

by Tanja
Amsterdam NDSM

NDSM Amsterdam is a stunning hangout in Amsterdam Noord. City nomads, craftsmen and artists converted the former NDSM ship wharf into a breeding ground for creative talent. Restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs with stunning views over the Amsterdam IJ-lake make NSDM a rough and alternative place in Amsterdam to eat, chill, explore, enjoy music, drinks, and art and to dance the night away. In summer the area of NDSM is used for festivals.

How to get to NDSM

NDSM lies in Amsterdam Noord, across the IJ water. It can be reached easily by free ferry. The ferry leaves from behind Central Station and takes you to the former ship wharf within 15 minutes.

The ferry to NDSM departs from behind Central Station and is a worth trip, especially at sunset.

Café and restaurant IJ-Kantine

One of the first buildings you see when the ferry docks at NDSM, is IJ-Kantine. Back in the day when huge cargo and warships were built at NDSM, workers came here, at the ‘canteen’, to have their lunch.

The large building with high ceilings, industrial interior design and breathtaking views over the IJ-water are a reminder of the working days. Nowadays IJ-Kantine is a large restaurant and café, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Special is the 18-meter long bar.

NDSM STRAAT museum for graffiti and street art

Museum STRAAT displays over 150 giant graffiti and street art works in an industrial hall at NDSM.

A recent addition to the NDSM art scene is the museum STRAAT. On show are huge works of graffiti and street art. The works are huge, hanging on the walls of the old industrial hall. The walls are over 25 meters high. A true visual spectacle.

STRAAT museum

Festivals and Exhibitions at NDSM

The main hall at NDSM now houses small creative businesses and regular expo’s.

The spacious NDSM shipyard is a breeding space for creative talent. Inside the warehouse are many shipping containers that house the workspaces of over eighty ambitious artists and craftsmen and -women.

Throughout the year, there are many special events at NDSM. Check the list of Music Festivals in Amsterdam. There are also regular art exhibitions at NDSM. Find events at the Amsterdam Event Calendar.

IJ-Hallen Flea Market

ndsm market Amsterdam
Flea market at the NDSM former ship wharf.

Every two weeks there is a large flea market at Amsterdam, the IJ Hallen. In summer the flea market is outside, in winter it’s inside. The focus of the sales is on used household and clothes, but it’s also great for design.

Fish Shop Cisca Jonk

For a quick and tasty bite, check out the fish truck of Cisca Jonk. Pretty good herring! Open Wednesday through Saturday, from 09:00 to 17:00 hours.

Hangout Pllek

Pllek NDSM
NDSM: Pllek

Pllek is located along the waterfront of IJ. It is a large restaurant and café with a great outside terrace. It has amazing views over the IJ-water. In summer, you can dive into the water and the whole area becomes a city beach.

Pllek offers live music, DJs and dancing at the weekends, yoga on Sunday morning, films, workshops, festivals and much more.


RECOMMENDED READ: Amsterdam city beaches.

Amsterdam NDSM Crane Hotel

The iconic NDSM crane houses a hotel.

Crane ’13’  was the last remaining crane at the shipyard. The industrial crane was dismantled in 2013, shipped away and converted into a luxury hotel: Faralda Crane Hotel. There is a jacuzzi on top.

Café IJver

IJver at NDSM, Amsterdam.
Indoor terrace at IJver.

Bar and restaurant IJver is a more recent (2019) addition to NDSM’s many bars and restaurants. IJver is located in the main hall and has terraces outside, and inside. The decoration is warm, modern and cozy.


Café Noorderlicht

ndsm noorderlicht
Noorderlicht café has a stage outside for those long summer evenings.

It’s always sunny in NDSM’s café Noorderlicht. The walls are made of glass, like a greenhouse. Seating outside is great also, with stunning views over the IJ. There is a small stage outdoor where bands perform in summer. In winter, live music is played indoors. Noorderlicht is located the furthest away from the ferry.


History of the NDSM Amsterdam ship wharf

In 1937, the NSM, forerunner of NDSM, was the largest shipbuilding company in the world. The NSM built tank ships as well as huge passenger ships.

Later the NSM merged with the Dutch shipbuilders of NDM, becoming NDSM (Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij). The massive ship wharf found its location at Amsterdam Noord, across the IJ. NDSM ship wharf built cargo ships, bulk carriers and warships for the Dutch navy.

The shortage of new orders caused the NDSM to finally stop building new ships in 1978. The company continued repairing ships until around 1984, but the glorious era of Dutch shipbuilding had come to an end.

The empty buildings left to waste at Amsterdam NDSM East Wharf. Prostitutes and junkies swamped the area. ‘City nomads’, craftsmen, artists and wannabe artists, settled in and united, naming themselves foundation Kinetisch Noord.

The city council like the idea of this new so-called ‘broedplaats’ (‘breeding spaces‘). Kinetisch Noord now receives subsidies from the Amsterdam city council. They are is still being developed to make good use of the large boathouse and outside terrain and ramps.

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Street Art Museum for Amsterdam – Canadian Art Junkie January 8, 2024 - 19:37

[…] has painted a 24-meter high portrait of Anne Frank on the facade of the future museum, located in NDSM Wharf, a former shipyard. Frank, who lived in hiding in Amsterdam during World War II, remains an […]

Timi Onayemi June 2, 2017 - 05:09

Hi, I was among the winners of the NDSM for Artistes Competition for my ‘ The Amsterdam Chronicle’ Newspaper and Homeless Holland Gallery and Theatre Project in 2002 though I didn’t use my place as I had to return to Switzerland.

Pls put me on your mailing list for new developments at NDSM Week.

Ale, Art and Cinema - 3 reasons to Love Noord - Backpacks and Bunkbeds October 6, 2015 - 09:45

[…] course someone new did eventually move in, and now transformed today the NDSM wharf houses live music venues, skateparks, student housing, cafes, bars restaurants, …, Europe’s biggest Flea Market and perhaps most impressively (or at least in my eyes), it […]

Eva de Klerk September 2, 2015 - 18:22


Thank you for sharing this!

The NDSM was actually never squatted although the origins do ly in the squatting movement. Please check my website ( and the official NDSM site ( for more information about NDSM’s background, development and members of the NDSM community.

Sorry to say that Skatepark Amsterdam was closed down by the city in 2014 due to high market and commercial benefits. More about this in “An Artist’s Kiss to Awaken A City” on my site

With love,
Initiator redevelopment NDSM

Tanja September 2, 2015 - 19:33

Thanks for the update!

Mr Office Design UK April 7, 2012 - 10:15

Inspiring re-use of space – a great place to work. More former shipyards around the world are becoming transformational workspaces.

Skoric Branislav May 4, 2015 - 16:16

As a musician and painter I see NDSM as a perfect place for living and work with my wife who is also a multimedial artist, singer, painter and designer.We are planing to come and visit NDSM this summer and I am 99% sure that we will find a work and living space in Amsterdam. We wish ,all the best for your NDSM project and hope we will see NDSM in live very soon.