Soundpaths: NDSM

room 16 ECHOES


NDSM is a former shipyard in Amsterdam.

Soundpaths is an immersive audio experience that explores its history through field recordings and music. Put on your headphones, hit start and playback will begin. You can see yourself as a blue dot on the map below, and the audio zones are represented in purple. When you are standing in an audio zone it will start playing back. Wander around NDSM and the sounds will change to fit your location. You will hear music, and perhaps the ghosts of the former activity of the wharf.

From the 1920s to the 1980s, Amsterdam’s NDSM Wharf was one of the largest shipyards in the world. When the shipyard closed in 1984, the area around it became “stigmatized as a poor neighbourhood populated by immigrants and former labourers from the now defunct shipping industry”. The story of the redevelopment of NDSM begins in the late 90s, and it is somewhat unusual, being rooted in Amsterdam’s countercultural squatting scene.

In recent years multinational companies have opened offices here, and thousands of new luxury homes have been built; developers and corporations both keen to capitalise on the cultural cache of the area that exists as a result of an underground arts scene. Once again the sounds of industry ring out at the wharf, but where once ships were constructed, now it is luxury homes.

How has the particular history of the area led us to this present? What has been gained as the area has been redeveloped? What has been lost? The area thrives now. But has anything been forgotten? Has anyone been pushed aside?

Yonatan Collier
Yonatan Collier



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