Built from 1883 to 1885 along the Haarlemmertrekvaart, the Westergasfabriek (Western Gas Factory) was a coal gas extraction plant — it supplied Amsterdam with gas, mostly used to illuminate streets and buildings. The 4 hectare (around 10 acres) terrain housed many buildings, designed by architect Isaac Gosschalk in Dutch Neo-Renaissance style. These days it is used as a cultural venue.
When the factory was built, environmental issues were more of an afterthought. So when the gasworks were closed in 1967, what was left was a heavily polluted terrain, difficult to repurpose. Until the 1990s it was mostly used as a storage area for the GEB, the City Energy Company. They demolished some buildings (like the gas plant itself and the water tower), but others were saved. The remaining buildings were designated as National Monuments in 1989. The GEB left the terrain in 1992 and the District Council of Westerpark then took over the location.
Culture & Recreation
After the entire lot’s polluted soil had been thoroughly cleaned up, an open park was created around the renovated historical buildings. Opened in 2003, the terrain has become a lively cultural hotspot in a green park setting, hosting many bars, cafés, restaurants, theaters, festivals and expositions. The complex is now simply called Westergas. The former offices of the Westergasfabriek have been transformed into the eco-hotel Conscious, between the renovated cultural area Westergas and the older Westerpark public garden, created in 1891.
Westergas Gallery (July 2021)
Around 1885 there already was an iron drawbridge here for the Westergasfabriek, but it was removed in 1956. The current Westergasbrug across the Haarlemmertrekvaart which gives access to the terrain of the Westergasfabriek dates from 1919. It was originally located on the Zijkanaal on the NDSM terrain in Amsterdam-Noord, moved to its current location in 1956.
Website Westergas: https://westergas.nl/en/whats-here/
Handy map of what is where: https://westergas.nl/en/map/
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