Amsterdam North has been undergoing a surge of redevelopment over the last few years. NDSM is a former shipping wharf area in north-west Amsterdam now used as a space for artists/exhibitions/festivals and also includes offices and student housing. It has a strange, eerie atmosphere which is in stark contrast to the bustle of the centre.
In 1979 the NDSM (Nederlandse Dok en Scheepsbouw Mattschappij or Dutch Ports and Shipbuilding Company) was closed down - however in the late 1990s the area started a regeneration program which continues to this day.
NDSM wharf (NDSM werf) can be easily reached by hopping on the free GVB ferry service at the back of central station. The pleasant 15 minute journey will give you an insight into how Amsterdam's waterside is developing.
On arrival at NDSM, to your left in the distance you will see the elevated 270m long Kranspoor office, another striking example of modern Dutch architecture.
To reach the old shipyard area walk straight up the road (Ms.van Riemsdijkweg) and then turn right. You will pass the MTV (Viacom) Benelux Headquarters. Red Bull also has their head office in the NDSM area.
Have a wander around - the main warehouse building is a huge exhibition space which also contains artist studios and a skatepark. Platforms dotted around provide further exhibits. Head down the slipway (helling) past the large NDSM crane and you will find, amongst other things, some old trams and a replica Easter Island head statue.
An interesting thing to see is the geWoonboot - an environmentally friendly houseboat that generates its own power and produces its own drinking water. This is open for public visits on Wednesday and Friday afternoons between spring and autumn.
Eating/Drinking at NDSM
Next to the geWoonboot is the funky glass-domed Noorderlicht (Northern lights) cafe-restaurant with grass terrace. It's a great spot for a drink / snack with water views - note closed on Mondays between October and April.
Alternatively there is the IJKantine brasserie to the west of the ferry wharf which also has a fine south-facing terrace. There is also a HEMA store near the Kranspoor.
The GVB ferries run approximately every half hour to midnight (last ferry back to central is 1am Fridays and Saturdays).
If you wish to stay at NDSM wharf then the floating Amstel Botel is currently moored there.