The NDSM is (still) one of my happy places in Amsterdam. I feel like anyone who loves art, particularly urban art, will feel some degree of excitement at the NDSM area in Amsterdam North. The acronym stands for Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, which was the site of the Dutch Shipbuilding Company until 1984. After the company ceased operations, a group of squatters & artists took hold of the premise. This movement took different shapes until the Art City, finally, became official in 2007. Art City is the result of a project that brought a group of creatives together to repurpose the massive former shipbuilding venue into a breeding ground for art and sustainability.
The Open Atelier days at the complex of the Art City are the best excuse to go check out the NDSM neighborhood. The Art City space is located in the premises where, once, massive ships got built. The location, raw and industrial, lends itself perfectly to artistic experimentation. It hosts an array of ateliers and an exhibition space (which you can see in the photos.) Today I’m sharing a number of the pieces that have caught my attention last time I visited.
The Art City (or Kunststad, in Dutch) is considered a case study of rehabilitation of a degraded urban area. The initiative for the whole project was taken by the community of independent artists itself. They have come up with the concept & plan and have even financed it themselves until, eventually, grants from the municipality and the Dutch government started coming in. This group of artists and makers have built and managed this “city within the city,” which became one the most emblematic examples of innovation in the country. What also makes them special is their stance on sustainability and circular economy. For instance, the space for the ateliers was divided according to the light coming through the roof. The energy system in the building was entirely invented by Kunststad citizens as well. The former shipbuilding warehouse has, in the meanwhile, become a national monument.
If you’re curious about Kunststad and how this community has designed and built their work and living spaces check out this video where Eva de Klerk explains its story and development process.
These pictures were taken on October 13, during an event in which Art City’s ateliers are open to the public. However you can go and visit the premises daily from 09.00 to 18.00, free of charge, and there are a couple of semi-permanent installations for you to check out.
Shall I make a tour of the NDSM for the YouTube channel? Let me know what you’d like me to cover in the comment section!
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