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Find Out Why the NDSM Wharf Is the Best-Kept Secret in Amsterdam

Matilda is a part-time digital nomad and lover of all things unexplored and off the beaten track!

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What More Does Amsterdam Have to Offer?

Amsterdam is one of the best- known tourist destinations, period. It would make sense if everything about this amazing, varied city had already been discovered, but the tour guides and travel brochures seem to be missing one major feature of Amsterdam—the NDSM Wharf—and that is lucky for you.

The NDSM Wharf (just across the canal from the city center) is an artsy, bohemian gem that has something of interest for every traveller. From nightclubs and mouthwatering treats to flea markets and street art, it has more than enough to draw hordes of locals across the canal every day of the week.

If you are a conscientious traveller and plan ahead a few days, you can really make the best of your trip to Amsterdam Noord and the NDSM Wharf.

The ferry to the NDSM Wharf is always PACKED with bicycles.

The ferry to the NDSM Wharf is always PACKED with bicycles.

What to Do at the NDSM Wharf

I've included a few highlights, but there is much more to see at Amsterdam's NDSM Wharf. I highly recommend taking a camera for a long walk around.

Visit lJ-Hallen Flea Market

The lJ-Hallen Flea Market is a bargain hunter's dream. In fact, it is the biggest flea market in Europe! But even if you're not looking for souvenirs, it is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon and a great way to meet some locals. The lJ-Hallen Flea Market is only open twice a month, however, so plan ahead wisely. You can find the schedule here.

Check Out Art City NDSM

In the old shipping yard, you can find Art City NDSM—a collective of studios, art installations, and small businesses that is open to the public from 9:00 to 6:00 daily. You can check out their most recent installations here.

See a Film With a View at Pllek

If your trip is planned for the summer months, be sure to check out Films with a View at Pllek. Pllek is my personal favourite restaurant at the NDSM Wharf. It is made out of shipping containers and features a glass front, balcony seating, and the coolest fireplace I have ever seen. You can keep track of their schedule on Facebook, and while you're at it, you may want to check out Pllek's agenda for some cool events. Both sites are in Dutch, but focus on names and dates and trust me, you'll figure it out.

Visit Noorderlicht

Another wonder of industrial architecture is Noorderlicht ("northern lights" in Dutch) which looks a lot like a giant greenhouse. I can't say enough wonderful things about this cafe, but in the interest of leaving something to the imagination, I will hold back, except to say, keep an eye on the schedule.

Stop in at Sexyland

If you don't consider yourself a nightclub person, you may want to change your tune for Sexyland, a conceptual nightclub that has a different owner every day of the year. That's right, you heard me. You could try to navigate the website, but honestly, isn't it more fun if it's a surprise?

One of the many cool features of the NDSM Wharf is this old tram that has been given a new life!

One of the many cool features of the NDSM Wharf is this old tram that has been given a new life!

How to Get to the NDSM Wharf

The NDSM Wharf and Amsterdaam Noord seem far, far away from the rest of Amsterdam (which is honestly a huge part of their charm), but in reality, it's only about a 20-minute journey.

Here's the deal: Go to Amsterdam Centraal, the train station. It should not be too hard to find, as it is a very popular location and there's a good chance that it's where you arrived to begin with, but if not, it's labelled on the map below.

Once you arrive, you want to head directly behind the station, to The River lJ. There, you will find clearly marked ferries. Look for the one that says NDSM Wharf. When you find it, you will see a countdown to tell you how long the wait is, how convenient! You will also see that it is indeed common to bring a bike over, so don't worry if you have rented one!

If you have any trouble, ask a local! Literally every Dutch local I have ever met has been a very friendly person with perfect English! That's all! Enjoy the view from the ferry! Oh, and did I mention? It's free!

Here are the timetables; you are looking for route 905 and 906.

Honestly, It's Endless.

Tucked into pockets of this industrial graveyard are countless amazing sights: tram houses, a crane hotel (with a hot tub on top), an entire shipping container neighbourhood and a veritable wealth of incredible street art.

Take your time; the ferries run late (do check the timetable!)

A Map of the NDSM Wharf Highlights

What about you?

© 2019 Matilda Woods

Do you have any 'off the beaten track' recommendations for Amsterdam? Add them below!

Matilda Woods (author) from Toronto on February 27, 2019:

Glad to hear it, Liz!

Liz Westwood from UK on February 27, 2019:

This article puts an unknown area of Amsterdam on the map for me.

Matilda Woods (author) from Toronto on February 26, 2019:

I hope you found some useful tips here, Lorna!

Lorna Lamon on February 26, 2019:

I will be travelling to Amsterdam at the end of the year and I will definitely pay NDSM Wharf a visit - sounds really interesting.