NDSM Wharf – The most sustainable hotspot in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the best example of Sustainable development – whether it is using bicycles, constructing green buildings, having energy neutral institutions or simply upgrading an obsolete area into an artistic, usable and interesting area which is economically viable. I happened to visit NDSM located in the north-west Amsterdam as a part of my Masters course in Green cities from Erasmus University, Rotterdam.  Since this was for study course, we were given a private tour by one of the artists there and introduced to various sustainable practices they follow.

NDSM, the Wharf

At first sight this place looks littered with rustic metal, abandoned vehicles and graffiti relics of the industrial days which is the historical remainder of the largest shipyard in Amsterdam on the bank of IJ river which when closed 30 years ago gave space to a large void area. NDSM stands for News Dock Activities Stories. You will come across dozens of boats and ships which are now being transformed into creative office spaces in the Kunststad (Art City), the largest breeding site in the Netherlands. There are happening places where you can eat, drink, party, attend an exhibition or live on luxury hotel at the river bank, enjoying the best view of Amsterdam.

NDSM Wharf

NDSM is reportedly one of the 3 most wanted development areas of Amsterdam and has been announced as a “model project of urban renewal in the Netherlands” since 2002 by the Ministries of Planning, Environment and Economy Affairs.

Here’s a list why NDSM is one of the most sustainable places and a must visit if you are a localite or tourist in Amsterdam. You can also look at Sustainable Architecture options to visit in Rotterdam, Netherlands by clicking here.

Sustainable offices

NDSM is a work place for artists and they live like a close knit community. They have turned the old boats into their offices using the locally available resources. Peek into these offices from the windows and I bet you cannot stop yourself from going in and seeing what they offer. The artist community meet up every few days to discuss issues and take solution. They come together to tend to nearby areas or garden, or deload the toilet or compost the poo!

NDSM artist offices

Sustainable toilets

The water used to flush the toilet is rainwater filtered by the moss sedum bed on the roof. The sewage is transported to a helophyte filter system and a floating bamboo and reed garden which is transported through a pipeline outside the boat. Once purified, the water is pumped back into the boat closing the loop of sustainable toilet.

NDSM Amsterdam


The poo from toilet is collected separately and composted in a designated area. These machines are manually rotated for aeration. Micro-organisms, disinfectants and anti odour powder is added to this for handling safety.

NDSM composting

Hostels from shipping containers

Colorful shipping containers have been converted into cheap student housing for emerging artists. Fortunately they have air conditioning system to escape the heat during summer!

Hostels from shipping containers

Shipping warehouse for exhibition hall and office space

There is a massive exhibition space for events and festivals at Kunststad. It also offers 2 levels of office space that renters can modify to their needs at very cheap costs. Over 250 office spaces are present within this warehouse.

Exhibition space

Hotels from Ships

An old boat has been converted into a 3-star hotel and named “botel” and a towering crane that is offers most spacious and high end luxury suite with unequalled city views.

Boat hotelHigh end luxury hotel

NDSM is very creatively transformed into an activity site using green development approaches and the community is completely involved in maintaining so!

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13 thoughts on “NDSM Wharf – The most sustainable hotspot in Amsterdam

  1. It’s great that travelers becomes more aware about the way they travel. People nowadays want to contribute in helping the planet. Amsterdam seems extremely innovative when it comes to going greener and there are a few places you mentioned that stand out. These brightly coloured shipping containers stacked on top of each just like at any regular dock or trucking station are amazing. I would love to stay one night there !

  2. Wow – I love that they’ve converted this space into something eco-friendly and incredibly creative! I love that old, dilapidated spaces are being used more effectively, I wonder what the inside of that hotel looks like!

  3. Its so nice to see more people being mindful of sustainable ways, especially in the travel industry! Also, it sounds so cool to be abel to stay in a hotel converted from a ship!

    1. I think sustainable travel is the new mantra with more and more travelers taking it up seriously. I wish I was able to go that hotel.

  4. This actually looks really cool and interesting, I had never heard about something like this before. I knew Netherlands was a pretty eco friendly country but the creative touch in this makes it extra nicer ! I would love to stay in their hostel container instead of a regular one 😀

  5. This actually looks very cool and interesting ! I knew Netherlands was a pretty eco friendly country but the artistic vibe in this makes it even better ! I would love to stay in their container hostel instead of a regular one 😀

  6. I love that they have repurposed the shipping containers for housing (they’re also colorful and beautiful!), the ship for a “botel”, and the warehouse for an exhibition space. Amsterdam is such a neat place!

  7. looks really interesting, never heard of this before, really cool what the Netherlands is doing for the environment! Hoping to visit someday!

  8. It’s great that so many places are focusing more on eco-tourism and really attempting to preserve things! Hopefully the trend continues. Thanks for the read!

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