The area of Westergasfabriek, a complex of 19th century buildings was a once gas plant, then a venue for house raves in the 90’s and now it’s one of the biggest cultural venues of Amsterdam. At Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek Amsterdam you’ll find bars, restaurants, clubs, music festivals, a park, a kids pool, house parties, many outside terraces, a coffee bar, an ice cream shop, a jazz club and a cinema.
Amsterdam gas plant
The Westergasfabriek was a plant constructed in 1885 to produce gas needed to illuminate the streets of Amsterdam. In those days, gas was extracted from coal. The buildings were designed by Isaac Gosschalk, who also designed the Heineken Brewery and restaurant De Poort van Cleve. Gosschalk was an important Dutch architect who started with the Dutch renaissance.
In 1959 the largest natural gas field of Europe was found in The Netherlands, nearby Slochteren in the Northern province of Groningen. When the gas was extracted from Slochteren, the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam lost its function.
Clean up Wester Gas Plant
The orginal gas plant of Westergasfabriek was torn down, as well as the beautiful water tower. The remaining buildings were left to waste for years. In the 90’s the characteristic Westergasfabriek attracted artists and party organisers.
Soon the old Westergasfabriek was seen as historically important and important for the future of art and culture in Amsterdam. The 22 buildings were listed officially as monuments. But the terrain was heavily polluted by its industrial background, a renovation meant cleaning the soil. An expensive undertaking that took years to organise and finance.
Techno Raves at the Gashouder
In the meanwhile, a variety of renters moved into the Westergas terrain, organising events, setting up rehearsal studios and artist studios. The large gas holder became a spectacular venue for the first Amsterdam mass techno raves. The huge Gashouder was home to the legendary and still happening Awakenings parties.
The Amsterdam council took it upon them to finance the cleaning of the terrain and to renovate the buildings. It cost 31 million euro but it was worth it. They decided to make the temporary function a lasting one.
The old Westergas factory has since turned into a cultural haven with bars, restaurants, clubs, galleries and shops. Also you will find here beer brewery Troost (with bar and shop), cinema Het Ketelhuis (mostly kids films or Dutch) and Dutch ice cream shop Het IJscuypje. To highlight some of Amsterdam Westergas’ best places to go to:
Starting from the North side of the Westergasfabriek, from the Haarlemmerstraat, we find first a bakery in the old regulateurshuis, right by the entrance. The regulateurs house was the place where the gas was pumped into the city. You could buy coal here as well. The Bakkerswinkel uses local, biological products as much as possible. There is a terrace along the water and you can buy cakes, sandwiches and bread, coffee and juice to take away at the little shop for your pick nick at the nearby Westerpark.
2. North Sea Jazz Club
Next to the Bakery is the in 2012 opened North Sea Jazz Club.
3. Pacific Parc
Pacific Parc closes off the left row. The venue is popular in summer, when the large outside terrace holds an empty seat for everyone and also in winter, when the fireplace brings a cosy warmth inside. A dj spins records every night and during weekends there is dancing in famously pick up and flirt-friendly atmosphere.
4. Television Studios
Next to Pacific Parc there is a television recording studios of Dutchview Studio. Many of the television programes are from the Dutch public network, like DWDD, Pauw en Witteman and Kunstof and they are recorded live with studio audience. There is also a bar and restaurant: Mediacafé.
5. Free WIFI at Amsterdam Westergasfabriek
Around the buildings of Westergasfabriek and the Westerpark there is free wifi on a high speed network. The network is called: ‘WGFFreeWiFi’
Moving away from the Northern part oft he Westergasterrein you can take the right or left lane. Take a left to have your picture taken in front of the large IAMSTERDAM letters. Following the right lane, you end up at the huge gas holder. Across the gas holder there is the large outside terrace of Westergasterras. The Westergasterras is famous for its After Work drinks on Fridays and salsa dance parties on Thursday in summer. It’s also a restaurant.
7. Westerunie and Westerliefde
Upstairs Westergasterras are clubs Westerunie and downstairs Westerliefde. Both spaces have a nice industrial look with lots of brick and steel to give it that Berlin-feel. The clubs only open on organised dance and club nights. Club nights includes those of Click, Static, Rotzooi and Loveland, all very popular.
8. Dance Music festivals at Westergasfabriek
In more recent years, the Westergas terrain has been used for large scale outdoor dance festivals such as Pitch, Buiten Westen and Milkshake Festival.
9. Sunday Market
Every first Sunday of the Monday stands sell fashion, design, gifts and jewellery, in most cases designed and hand made by the people who sell them during the Sunday Market.
10. NeighbourFood Market
Every third Sunday of the Month you can taste delicious food and bring some home with you during the NeighbourFood Market.