Amsterdam ferries are a free service, recommended if you want to get some air and space and feel the wind in your hair after walking in the city. Amsterdam Ferry F7 runs from the Pontsteiger building to the former NDSM-wharf in Amsterdam-Noord, crossing the IJ in about 6 minutes. At the edge of the Zeeheldenbuurt and Oude Houthaven (Old Wood Harbor), the Pontsteiger is part of the development area of Nieuwe Houthavens (New Wood Harbor), more to the west.
The 26 story iconic Pontsteiger building was built between 2015 and 2018, designed by architects Arons and Gelauff. The complex has apartments, shops, a hotel and restaurants and it is named after the dock which it is located next to. Directly on the water of the IJ, it has 28 mooring spaces surrounding it. The 25th floor has a large penthouse of 1440 m² (1574 yd²), sold for € 16 million in 2016, later divided into four parts and the parts sold several times with quite a profit.
The towers rest on 45 m (148 ft) long piles, driven until the stable third sand layer below the peat to carry the weight. From the dock next to it (created in 1957) on the Tasmanstraat two ferries go to Amsterdam-Noord, one to the former NDSM-wharf and one to the Distelweg (Ferry F6). Ferry F5 runs from behind the Central Station to NDSM.
The NDSM-terrain, usually just called NDSM, was the former NDSM wharf (Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij). It is an area in the Amsterdam-Noord (Amsterdam-North) district, across the IJ, about ten football fields large. This former shipyard has become a bustling cultural venue, with a big artist community, festivals, exhibitions, dance parties and a variety of bars and restaurants. Once a year theater festival “Over het IJ” (Across the IJ) takes place here. A big crane was converted into a special hotel in 2013. There is also an impressive Street Art Museum.
History of the NDSM
In 1919 the Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (Dutch Shipbuilding Company, NSM) started on a terrain on the northern IJ shore, to be able to build bigger ships than were possible on Oostenburg. The foundry and carpentry workshop were moved to the new wharf. The old NSM-wharf on Oostenburg island was destroyed by fire in 1925.
Daniel Goedkoop Jr. (1850-1929) was the owner of wharf Kromhout on Kadijkseiland (near the Scheepvaartmuseum). In 1894 he was asked to take charge of a new wharf, the NSM, which operated until 1984. At the 50th anniversary of the wharf in 1944 this commemorative needle, with a portrait of its first manager, was placed here by the wharf’s workers.
In 1920 a repair wharf of the Nederlandsche Dok Maatschappij (Dutch Dock Company, NDM) was founded, northwest of the NSM wharf. During the Second World War both wharfs were heavily damaged. In 1946 NSM and NDM merged to become NDSM and their joint terrain covered almost 60 ha (148 ac). They mostly built large freighters and tankers, but during the 1970s competition in shipbuilding was fierce and in 1985 the descendants of the NDSM went bankrupt.
Some parts of the terrain are still in use by shipbuilders today. Four buildings on the terrain have been designated as national monuments in 2007. Empty buildings were soon occupied by squatters and city nomads, followed by many artists, craftsmen and small businesses. Since 2002 there are also a number of old tram wagons on the terrain, used by various artists. In 2012 a marina was constructed here, together with a 600 m (656 yd) long breakwater in the IJ.
Veronica & Pollux
On the pier next to the NDSM quay two ships are moored: Veronica and Pollux. Radio Veronica was a pirate radio ship which transmitted from the North Sea from 1960 until 1974. They later got official status as a private broadcaster. The ship, officially called the Norderney, became a floating disco for private parties. Since November 2013 it is moored here.
The ship Pollux dates from 1940. It is a replica of a three-masted barque from around 1850. From 1940 until 1984 it was moored at the Oosterdok, serving as a training ship for sailors until 1989. In 2012 it returned from IJmuiden to Amsterdam after restoration, now moored at the former NDSM. It housed restaurants for a while, but they closed in 2020.
Gallery of Pontsteiger to NDSM (July 2022)
Website of the NDSM: https://www.ndsm.nl/en/programme/
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