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, a 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 original 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 1990s the Westergas area was renovated and the polluted soil cleaned.
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 old Westergas factory has since turned into a cultural haven with bars, restaurants, clubs, galleries and shops.
You can reach the Westergasfabriek from Central Station on foot in about half an hour. Just go straight from Haarlemmerdijk and into shopping street Haarlemmerstraat all the way to the end. Cross Haarlemmerplein square, cross the big bridge and down on your right, you can enter Westerpark. The Westergas area is right at the end of the park.
To highlight some of Amsterdam Westergas’ best places to go to:
1. The Bakery Shop & Tony’s Chocolonely
Entering the Westergasfabriek grounds from the right side on the map above, you will find a nice bakery. The Bakkerswinkel is located 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 picknick at the nearby Westerpark.
Across from the Bakkerswinkel, you can buy chocolate with a conscience. Amsterdam’s own Tony’s Chocolonely is working to create a 100% slave-free chocolate.
2. Cinema and food at Het Ketelhuis
On the left side of the main street is Het Ketelhuis, a film house cinema. Many films are non-English spoken and not subtitled, so check the agenda first. when a film is subtitled, it is clearly stated.
3. Pop-up art at Het meterhuisje
Next door to Het Ketelhuis is pop-up gallery Het Meterhuisje. Every month new art by a rising star in the Amsterdam art universe.
4. Westergas Wines and Dutch icecream
Natural and biodynamic wines on offer at the Wester Wijnfabriek. You can even take a bottle into the Westerpark. If you prefer something cold and sweet, move up a building to IJscuypje, original Dutch ice cream!
5. Large grass to hang out and free wifi
The large grass area on your right is perfect to chill. There’s even free wifi! Around the buildings of Westergasfabriek and at the Westerpark there is free wifi on a high-speed network.
In summer, many Amsterdam locals organize 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.
6. Westergas beer brewery
At the terrace of beer Brewery Troost you can rest with a home-brewed beer. On tap are ten different kinds of beer. None have high alcohol percentages, so it’s perfect for tasting a few in one visit. Brewery Troost Westergas also serves food like hamburgers, salads and cheesecake.
11. 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.
7. 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.
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 gasholder. Next to the gasholder 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.
9. 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 organized dance and club nights. Club nights include those of Click, Static, Rotzooi and Loveland, all very popular.
10. 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.
11. Arcade games at the TonTon Club
The TonTon Club is located at the very end of the green Westergas area. If you feel like playing an old arcade game, this is the place for you. There are more TonTon Clubs in Amsterdam, and this one has a Japanese touch. You can enjoy Japanese food and drinks also.
12. Raïnaraï, Algerian food
Raïnaraï is a nomadic restaurant with an authentic Algerian menu. It also has a large quiet terrace with a hippie feel.