Art, craft and culture

Galleries, museums, street art and local craft, cultural activities

Sporenburg island statue at the east end

On this webpage you will find a selection of local art and craft. We will present some information about street art, museums and galleries in or near the Eastern Docklands.

Java island design bridge
The photographs show local street art. This street art usually tells a story. These pieces of art are often related to the history of the Eastern Docklands and to the new developments that are taking place in the present time.

There are also artistic creations in the area that have no specific relation to the past of this area. They mainly add to the present atmosphere in the area, accentuating the surroundings of land, air and water or adding to the innovative cultural atmosphere in the Eastern Docklands.

The statue on top of this page is found at the eastern end of the Eastern Docklands. From there, it is possible to see the Markermeer, part of the former Zuiderzee, a volatile part of the sea in the past.

The place also has a view of the Amsterdam-Rhine-canal, connecting the town to the river Rhine.
In the past, all ships coming to or leaving the docklands had to follow this direction.

entrance gate at KNSM island
The small design bridge shown on the right side above is one of the so-called Fools Bridges on Java island. More of them are shown on the web page about design bridges in the Eastern Docklands. These bridges are named after the opera ship Azart, also called the ship of fools, at Azart Square in the north of the Eastern Docklands.

To the left is a photograph of an entrance gate to one of the new buildings on KNSM island. It was made by Narcisse Toudoir. This gate is quite large and in a sublte way it seems to stress the presence of the open sky above the building.

There is a lot of special architecture to be found in the Eastern Docklands. Some buildings have even been transformed in complete pieces of art. The photograph below shows an example of this.

Borneo island art in architecture and bridge


These buildings can be found on Borneo island. In front of them is one of the design bridges connecting Borneo to Sporenburg island. More pictures of them are on our design bridges webpage.

Veemarkt area west sideThe sculpture on the right is situated in the Veemarkt area. It is actually fairly small. It is situated near the former eastern railway station, now a restaurant.

The - now rusty - iron figure presented in this sculpure stands next to a conserved old part of the former industrial railways in this area, leading up to the old station from the former docks and cattle market.

Behind it is a school building decorated in a special way.

The winding wall on the picture below is actually quite new. It is part of one of the enclosed gardens on Java island.

Java island art in garden

The small white cross on the right below dates from the Second World War. It is situated on Sporenburg island. It is a memorial for a small boy shot in the Eastern Docklands, put up by local people at that time.

On the cross is a long poem, probably written by a local schoolteacher or preacher who wanted to remain anonymous. It memorizes life and death of the child.

Sporenburg island war memorialThe statue below is also a war memorial, memorizing the sailors who died in this same war. It was put up by a shipping company.
It is situated on the western part of Java island, near Central Station.

Java island war memorial

The pillars in the building below contain many pictures of old maps of the area. They are situated in front of a small park that was made for the workers in the time of the shipping companies.

This park by Mien Ruys, a wellknown landscape architect, had a very modern architectural design, amazing for the time. It is found on KNSM island.

There is another photograph of this park on the architecture webpage.

KNSM island art in pillars of Kolhoff building
In the Rietlanden area and on the west part of KNSM island are several clubs and restaurants offering performances, shows and a lot of live music.

Of special interest are the clubs Panama and AMP and the restaurants de Cantine, Odessa and Lizboa, but there are many other places in the area with good music or performances.
More information about this can be found on the web page about social life and nightlife.

In the same area, notably on KNSM street, you can find attractive art and design shops and galleries.

The City Museum of Modern Art is now on Eastern Docks Islands, next to Central Station and just to the west of the Eastern Docklands area. A large design center is next to this museum.

Pakhuizen, a floating island
The grand new music building Muziekgebouw Aan 't IJ (Bimhuis / IJsbreker) can be found in the western part of the Eastern Docklands.
It is next to the international passengers terminal.

Close to it, in the inner city, you will find NEMO, the institute of modern technology.

The lakeside photograph shows one of the floating islands that can be found in the Eastern Docklands.
Veemarkt area art in front of Institute of Social History These islands were recently made by Jasper Grootveld. This artist was a well-known performer in the 1960's and 1970's, belonging to the counter culture of artists, squatters and bohemians that used to live in the Eastern Docklands in the 1970's, when the shipping companies had gone.
This island is situated at the Pakhuizen area in the south of the Docklands.
Some of these floating islands can be visited.

Eastern Docklands Amsterdam - Sfinx building and fence - ETo the left you can see a part of the Sfinx building and its fence. This building is in the central area of the Eastern Docklands.

The street setting with bells and street chairs to the right is in front of the International Institute of Social History, in the Veemarkt area.

The picture below shows an old photograph of the docklands.
Some of these photographs can be found on the walls of houses in the Rietlanden area.

Rietlanden photographs on walls
The Scheepvaartmuseum, a museum of sailing history on the neighboring Eastern Islands, offers more information about the history of the Eastern Docklands concerning shipping and (international) trade.

The International Institute of Social History and the neighboring Press Museum in the south of the Eastern Docklands have a lot of information about civil and social life, mainly in the course of the twentieth century.


When walking the smaller backstreets in the Eastern Docklands area, you can find some ateliers where artists are working. These ateliers are really workshops and normally they are not open for visitors, but you may possibly be able to take a look inside.

Sporenburg island wall stoneTo the right is a photograph of a wall stone on Sporenburg island by Hans van der Pas. Several wallstones made by him can be found in the Eastern Docklands.

Information about festivals, performances and other cultural activities can be found on the homepage of this website, in local electronic newspapers or on the website of Amsterdam Tourist Board.
See our links page.

See also:

social life and nightlife
design bridges
urban and outdoor leisure