NDSM – Amsterdam’s Creative Outpost

If the museum square (Museumplein) represents the glory of Dutch art, then the fast evolving NDSM at Amsterdam North would be her contemporary, unruly sister1. This is the optimal corner for you to watch the city’s art scene unfold.

NDSM stands for “Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij“, or the Netherlands dock and shipbuilding company. It’s a fusion of the two ship dock companies NDM and ADM in the year 1946. It remained in operations until 1979 and eventually collapsed under economic competition from Japan in the 90s. But the vast industrial land has not been left vacant. In some short years, it has grown into THE spot for new creatives to stretch their legs. This is why the area looks nothing like what you’d expect. Unlike the dense canal houses and winding canals, it’s filled with lively block housing sprinkling all over the visible land, huge abandoned or squatted factories, empty concrete and construction sites, overlapping political street art and graffiti, colorful residential container housing.

There’s more to explore than I can possibly fit in these words, but to whet your appetite….


Mid-August this year, the Noorderlicht Cafe at NDSM hosted a drone light show by Studiodrift. Hundreds came per night. The naturalistic automation flawlessly mimicked a flock of birds. With the vast space and relative low cost, this area is the ideal spot for many emerging artists to showcase their work.


Drone show at NDSM

Studio Drift also held an exhibition at Stedelijk Museum and Burning Man 2018


When it comes to entertainment around here, I gotta show you Sociëteit Sexyland.

Sexyland is originally a name for a sex shop at the Red Light District. Like the name, it’s a sexy, conceptual clubhouse that vows to provide you something different each day of the year. It’s run by a new boss every day, so the programs wildly differ. From guerrilla music video shooting, to strobe-light dinner party, to art school graduation shows, to Lowlands Festival in Amsterdam, SEXYLAND has them all.

Here’s a clip from their crazy Lowlands Festival experience (slightly NSFW ;)):

There’s something going on every other day (and night!) over there. This is a daring playground on par with those in LA and London, and a force to be reckoned with in the Amsterdam art world.

Want us to show you around on the ground? Check out our New Art in Amsterdam Tour and Amsterdam Food & Drinks Bike Tour!




  1. “Article | NDSM Werf to Continue as Rugged Sister to Amsterdam’s Museumplein.” http://www.ndsm.nl/en/story/ndsm-werf-to-continue-as-rugged-sister-to-amsterdams-museumplein/?context=349.