Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam is a complex of 19th century buildings, once a gas plant. In the 90’s the Amsterdam Westergas area hosted many house raves. Now it is one of Amsterdam’s biggest cultural venues. There are bars, restaurants, clubs, music festivals in summer, markets, a park, a kids pool, house parties, many outside terraces, a coffee bar, an ice cream shop, and even a cinema. It’s a great area to explore and to be among local Amsterdam people.
Westergas, former gas plant in Amsterdam
The Westergasfabriek was a factory constructed in 1885 to produce gas. The gas was needed to illuminate the street lights of Amsterdam. In those days, gas was extracted from coal.
The buildings were designed by Isaac Gosschalk, who also designed the Heineken Brewery and restaurant De Poort van Cleve. Gosschalk was an important Dutch architect who started with the Dutch renaissance.
In 1959 the largest natural gas field of Europe was found in The Netherlands, nearby Slochteren in the Northern province of Groningen. Since then, the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam lost its function.
Clean up Wester Gas Plant
The orginal gas plant of Westergasfabriek was torn down, as well as the beautiful water tower. The remaining buildings were left to waste for years.
In the 90’s the characteristic Westergasfabriek attracted artists and party organizers.
Soon the old Westergasfabriek was seen as historically important and important for the future of art and culture in Amsterdam.
The 22 buildings were listed officially as monuments. But the terrain was heavily polluted by its industrial background, a renovation meant cleaning the soil. An expensive undertaking that took years to organise and finance.
Techno Raves at the Gashouder
In the meanwhile, a variety of renters moved into the Westergas terrain, organising events, setting up rehearsal studios and artist studios. The large gas holder became a spectacular venue for the first Amsterdam mass techno raves. The huge Gashouder was home to the legendary and still happening Awakenings parties.
The Amsterdam council took it upon them to finance the cleaning of the terrain and to renovate the buildings. It cost 31 million euro but it was worth it. They decided to make the temporary function a lasting one.
The old Westergas factory has since turned into a cultural haven with bars, restaurants, clubs, galleries and shops. Also you will find here beer brewery Troost (with bar and shop), cinema Het Ketelhuis (mostly kids films or Dutch) and Dutch ice cream shop Het IJscuypje.
You can enter the Westergasfabriek walking from Central Station. Just go straight from Haarlemmerdijk and follow the shopping street Haarlemmerstraat all the way to the end, cross the big bridge. On the right side you enter the Westerpark. A the end of Westerpark, you will find Westergasfabriek. It is a pleasant walk, taking around 30 – 40 minutes.
To highlight some of Amsterdam Westergas’ best places to go to:
1. Bakery shop
Entering the Westergasfabriek grounds from the right side on the map above, you will find a nice bakery in the old regulateurshuis, next to the small bridge. The regulateurs house was the place where the gas was pumped into the city. You could buy coal here as well.
The bakery Bakkerswinkel uses local, biological products as much as possible. There is a terrace along the water and you can buy cakes, sandwiches and bread, coffee and juice to take away at the little shop for your pick nick at the nearby Westerpark.
2. Westergas wine bar
Just walk in between the 2 rows of buildings (Pazzanistraat). On the right side you will find a small and cosy wine bar called Wester Wine Factory. The Westergas wine bar has 70 different wines on tap and you can take your own bottle here to enjoy it on the grass lawn next door. There is also a terrace. There is a wine shop and a wine lab where you can blend your wine to your liking!
3. Westergas beer brewery
Not that much into wine? Across is also a beer brewery. Brewery Troost brews beer, it serves it in its own beer bar and you can buy the bottles in the shop. They produce 10 different kinds of beer. None have high alcohol percentages, so it’s perfect for tasting a couple in one visit. Brewery Troost Westergas also serves food like hamburgers, salades and cheesecake.
4. West Pacific
The ice cream closes the first row. Pacific Parc is the last of the other row. Pacific Parc is a large café and bar with a big outside terrace. In winter, you can snuggle up to the fireplace.
A dj spins records every night and during weekends there is dancing in famously pick up and flirt-friendly atmosphere.
5. Large grass to hang out and free wifi
The large grass area is perfect to chill. There’s even free wifi! Around the buildings of Westergasfabriek and the Westerpark there is free wifi on a high speed network. The network is called: ‘WGFFreeWiFi’.
In summer, many Amsterdam locals organise their own barbecue at the Westergas area. Kids may enjoy playing games in the field and when the weather is nice, jump into the paddling pool.
Moving away from the Northern part oft he Westergasterrein you can take the right or left lane. Following the right lane, you end up at the huge gas holder. Next to the gas holder there is another terrace: Westergasterras. The Westergasterras is famous for its After Work drinks on Fridays and salsa dance parties on Thursday in summer. It’s also a restaurant.
7. Westerunie and Westerliefde
Upstairs Westergasterras are clubs Westerunie and downstairs Westerliefde. Both spaces have a nice industrial look with lots of brick and steel to give it that Berlin-feel. The clubs only open on organised dance and club nights. Club nights includes those of Click, Static, Rotzooi and Loveland, all very popular.
8. Dance Music festivals at Westergasfabriek
In more recent years, the Westergas terrain has been used for large scale outdoor dance festivals such as Pitch, Buiten Westen and Milkshake Festival.
9. Sunday Market
Every first Sunday of the Monday stands sell fashion, design, gifts and jewelry, in most cases designed and hand made by the people who sell them during the Sunday Market.
10. NeighbourFood Market
Every third Sunday of the Month you can taste delicious food and bring some home with you during the NeighbourFood Market.