The creative heart of Amsterdam beats from the derelict docks of NDSM Wharf. The shipyard turned artistic hub is every ounce the painfully cool hipster hangout, with the city’s artistic elites populating its quaint cafés, innovative restaurants and booming live music venues. The area has become so synonymous with European edginess that some of the world’s coolest companies have set up their headquarters here.
We suggest you hop on that free ferry and head to the Wharf ASAP or else you won’t be able to say you hung out here before it was cool. This area is a must-do on any BUCKiTDREAM planner worth talking about, so what are you waiting for?
Stay High in the Sky or Float Down Below By far, the most insane – and desirable – place to stay in NDSM Wharf is in the horizon dominating, Crane Hotel. Although it only has three 5 star suites, each one with their own spectacular view of the surrounding area. When you book a suite – our pick is the dreamy Secret suite – you can preorder your favorite music to be ready for you when you arrive at the hotel.
Make your way 50 meters up to the top of the crane and you’ll find a guests-only jacuzzi with a stunning view of the surrounding city. You’ll be treated to a divine champagne breakfast each morning before you head out to explore the Wharf. If you’re feeling adventurous during your stay, you’ll be pleased to know that the hotel doubles up as a bungee jumping platform – just make sure you’ve fully digested your breakfast before taking the plunge.
If your crippling vertigo won’t allow you to climb the dizzying heights of the Crane Hotel, you could always take to the sea and stay aboard the massive floating Botel. As the name suggests, the Botel is a ‘cruise ship hotel’ docked at Pier 3 of the Wharf. Sea legs are advisable, but not compulsory.
Take in the Awesome Art As you traverse the concrete slabs of NDSM Wharf, make sure to look around and take in the weird and wonderful surroundings. The magnificent street art – including a massive mural of Amsterdam’s most famous resident, Anne Frank – isn’t the only thing vying for your optical attention in this ultracool neighborhood. Abandoned buses and tramcars dot the area giving it some serious post-apocalyptic vibes. There’s even an old rusted submarine partially submerged in the murky waters of the river.
The pulsing creativity of NDSM Wharf can be seen nowhere better than in Art City. Occupying the monstrous ship building hall, Art City is a maze of galleries, studios, workshops and business premises. Having been built and designed entirely by the artists who occupy the hall, Art City is the center of the action for Dutch artists all over the country. The layout of the labyrinthine hall is stark and stunning, and exploring any of its winding corridors could lead you to discovering a life-changing piece of art. If art isn’t quite your thing, Art City also houses a huge indoor skatepark, as well as plays host to film screenings, photoshoots and concerts.
Find Some Fun Food Spots If you’re feeling hungry – or thirsty – head to Pllek, NDSM Wharf’s iconic bar-cum-restaurant made from old shipping containers. Complete with its own faux gravel beach, Pllek is the ultimate hangout spot regardless of the weather. In the winter you can curl up under the glass roof with a cup of delicious hot chocolate; in the summer you can relax on the outdoor beach chairs or take a dip in the ever inviting IJ-waters. Come nightfall, Pllek turns into the area’s most popular music venue with Amsterdam’s hottest DJs spinning tunes until the early hours. If clubbing isn’t quite your thing, Pllek also hosts outdoor films, art exhibits, yoga and kids activities to keep everyone entertained.
More neighborhood hangout than restaurant, Ij-Kantine is another gastronomical must-visit when you’re in NDSM Wharf. Located in the former cafeteria building for the shipyard’s assembly workers, Ij-Kantine serves up delicious, honest food with a side of the area’s tastiest coffee.
When the sun goes down on the Wharf, head to dockside glasshouse Noorderlicht for some drinks and dancing to some of Amsterdam’s finest homegrown talent. If you’re feeling brave and want to take to the stage yourself, get to Noorderlicht on the first Sunday of every month for a hilarious ‘Amsterjam’.
Experience an Exciting Event If you can, try make it to NDSM Wharf during the Over Het Ij Festival, a 10-day celebration of Amsterdam’s bustling performing arts scene. Can’t make the dates of Over Het Ij? Don’t worry! NDSM Wharf plays host to tons of other cool events through the year, including Voltt Loves Summer, an electric charged dance music festival, and the Dockyard Festival, a 17 hour mega music event staged in the heart of the Wharf.
If you’re a burgeoning creative looking to get noticed in one of the coolest cities on Earth, NDSM Wharf is the place to do it. When you’re here, do as the hipsters do and post every aspect of your NDSM adventure to your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, making sure to hashtag #BUCKiTDREAM to inspire fellow BUCKiTDREAMERS.