NDSM open, welcome!

The NDSM shipyard with her broedplaats (literally ‘breeding ground’) is unique. This rough, raw and not yet fully defined area still bears the traces of the terrain vague it once was. The industrial past is tangible, omnipresent; the scale and diversity of new uses and other developments is unprecedented.

At the NDSM shipyard, and within the broedplaats in particular, one’s experience is determined by both the entirety, and by the constantly shifting interaction between elements of the whole: between individual and group, between past and present, between intimate and immense spaces, and between the wide scale of artistic disciplines, artistic expressions, craftsmanship and creative thought processes.

In 2001 when the city was looking for a new idea for the then abandoned NDSM shipyard, a group of artists, crafts-workers and skaters won the competition with their proposal for an experimental, multi-disciplinary cultuurwerf, that would be built and inhabited by ‘a mix of young and experienced artists, from beginning and established groups, from no-budget, low-budget, and some-budget initiatives from diverse artistic and craft disciplines’* who would inspire each other and engage in fruitful creative partnerships. It was to become a sort of city, an Art City; some would say, a utopia – among other sources the plan was influenced by the images and writings of the Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys and his utopian/dystopian world New Bablyon.

In 2016 the Art City is still standing, and is inhabited by an impressively large and diverse community: there are painters, draftsmen, sculptors, architects, photographers, web designers, graphic designers, product designers, inventors, specialised crafts-workers, filmmakers, musicians, lighting specialists, theater makers, furniture makers, decor makers, a company for drone film registrations, a circus, a theatrical wedding planner, and much more. But there are also, still, many empty spaces, testimony to dreams not (yet) realised. The skaters are gone, their floating domain is empty and silent, and it is anyone’s guess what will fill their space – and when.

NDSM OPEN, the annual multidisciplinary cultural manifestation of the NDSM broedplaats, invites you to think and dream with us. To experience, to enjoy, and to be inspired by what there is now, at this moment.

NDSM OPEN asks the question: what role can and should art and creativity play in our (urban) society, where individuals and groups relate to each other, and to the city through constantly shifting connections? What is the social, artistic, historical and economic value of the NDSM-werf, and the NDSM broedplaats, for the city, and further afield? What should such a place offer, to whom, and above all why?

NDSM OPEN: you’re invited, be welcome.