Where do I feel in my element the most? Immediate answer: among art. That’s probably why the NDSM is (still) one of my happy places in Amsterdam. The Open Ateliers at the complex of the Art City are the best excuse to go check out the ‘hood and see it in all its creative glory. I love photographing art so today I’m sharing a number of the pieces that have caught my attention (there were so many more to be seen, though).
Here’s a little bit of context for the ones unacquainted with the area. NDSM stands for Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, which was the site of the Dutch Shipbuilding Company until 1984. A group of squatters & artists took hold of the premise afterwards, a movement that 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 Art City (or Kunststad, in Dutch) is considered a case-study of reabilitation of a degraded urban area partly because 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 earning grants from the municipality and the Dutch government for its execution. This group of artists and makers have build and managed this “city within the city” themselves, becoming one the most emblematic examples of innovation in the country. What also makes them special is their stance in 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 have 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 guide vlog on the NDSM for my new YouTube venture? Let me know if you’d be interested in that in the comment section!