19 Dec 2016

The history of DGTL's homebase

The NDSM shipyard, also known as DGTL’s home base, has much more history than we actual know. In the 19th century, land was scattered in the IJ River, to make the Wharf an industrial and economic place to trade. So how did this great location, that was used by many gatherings nowadays, arise?

Long before it served as one of the most modern shipyards in the world, the Wharf was flooded by water. But in the 19th century, land was scattered in the IJ River, to make the Wharf an industrial and economic place to trade. 

Let’s take you back to 1894, when the Dutch shipbuilding company NSM was founded. The NSM had a great success but due to lack of expansion capabilities they had to look for another location. In 1915 they moved to the other side of the IJ: in the North of Amsterdam. In 1920 the NDM located their business right next to the NSM and the companies decided to merge and the NDSM was born.

Both companies took almost two kilometres of the North side of the IJ on ninety acres of land in North of Amsterdam. The firms unified due to the demise of the shipyard industry. Despite the merge, they remained independent business units. The NDSM was specialized in building and transporting cargo ships and tankers. One of their biggest clients was Shell, for which the largest tanker was built in the Netherlands. Also, the Royal Navy was a major client for the NDSM.


The NDSM was widely seen as a very successful and progressive company in the shipping industry and once was one of the largest and most modern shipyards in the world. Both companies were leading in shipbuilding innovations. Nowadays their findings are still applied to in the shipbuilding and repair industry. In 1984, economic problems hit the NDSM and they were forced to close its doors. The four docks that once were dug to store all ships with materials, are now in use by ship repair company Shipdock. Empty buildings on the NDSM Warf were squatted. In 1999, a group of artists, under the name Kinetic North, presented a plan for the redevelopment of the NDSM. Since then, this area is used for exhibitions, tryouts, shows and festivals. The NDSM has four national monuments: the Scheepsbouwloods, Lasloods, Timmerwerkloods and the Smederij. Besides that, the empty ship halls are often used by artist to make street art with graffiti.


For the future, the NDSM shipyard has great plans when it comes to sustainability. In 2013 the NDSM Energy was founded, in order to get the surrounding residential areas at the NDSM more sustainable. The purpose of this initiative is to join forces and achieve a shared sustainable ambition. In this attempt, generation of energy from renewable sources will play a big role. Wind energy is a way to generate renewable energy on a large scale. 

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