The Amsterdam port is a real city port: a mix of shipping, businesses and city life. You'll come across all that on this route. You'll cycle from the cultural free port of NDSM to a shipyard and to a climate-neutral new housing estate.
Length: 5 km
What you'll see along the way
Rather cycle a longer route?
An old Russian submarine, a hotel in a crane: when you arrive by ferry at the NDSM shipyard you immediately see that something special is going on here. The NDSM site is a real walhalla for festival-goers, bargain hunters, party-goers and adventurers.
NDSM stands for 'Nederlandse Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij' (Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company). Ships were built here between 1894 and 1979. After that, the enormous ship's sheds were empty for a long time, until squatters moved in. They turned the site into a creative free port.
It is now bustling with festivals and there are hip restaurants and cafes where you can first stretch out on your yoga mat and then regain your strength with an organic lunch. What's more, every month you can make your mark at a huge flea market in the IJ-hallen.
Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam
This is what's so special about the port: it takes you from a creative free port to a shipyard that is still in full operation. Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSA) has been around since the 1920s. The company was then called NDM (Nederlandse Dok Maatschappij).
Stadhaven Minerva is one of the oldest parts of the port. It was originally called the Nieuwe Houthaven, and was an extension of the Houthaven, which was situated next to it. For centuries, timber was stored here for further transport by water. After that, more and more wood was transported by road, and so the Houthavens got a different destination.
Theater Amsterdam is an eye-catching building with a large theatre, an events hall and a restaurant: 'Boven de Planken'.
You may remember this theatre from the musical ANNE, in 2014. At the time, the musical also premiered the theatre. With its large dimensions and high-tech possibilities, the theatre lends itself to shows in which you feel as if you are part of the performance yourself.
As peculiar as this 'island' looks, as extravagant is its history. A Rotterdam shipbuilder conceived the plan to introduce commercial radio and TV in the Netherlands. That was still forbidden at the time, so he wanted to broadcast from the North Sea, just outside the Netherlands. He had the platform built in Ireland, after which it was erected off the coast of Noordwijk.
On this side of the harbour you will see a number of striking buildings that have been converted or converted into luxury apartments. The old grain silo was already converted and later the Pontsteiger building was added.
Its generous dimensions and iconic design make this building one of the eye-catchers on the quay of the IJ, just like the EYE Film Museum, the A'DAM Tower and the sloping white buildings of IJdock.
When it was built at the end of the 19th century, this port was given a very appropriate name. Mercurius (Mercury) was the god of trade in Roman mythology.
Ships still dock here with trade. You can see silos and factories of:
- Cargill (soya factory)
- IGMA (transshipment of dry bulk goods, such as animal feed, oilseeds and biomass)
- ICL Fertilizers
There are three ports of call: to the east is Minervahaven and to the west are Vlothaven and Neptunushaven.
The Houthavens are in the middle of a drastic makeover, from wood transfer to residential area. There will be 2,700 climate-neutral homes - an eco-neighbourhood in Amsterdam.
When the Houthavens were closed, the harbours themselves were filled in. They have now been dug out again and seven islands have been constructed for the new homes.
By the way, we often speak of Houthavens - plural, because there are actually three timber harbours. From east to west they are the Oude Houthaven, the Houthaven, the Nieuwe Houthaven and the Minervahaven.