Using shipping containers for housing, shopping and eating seems to be something that is catching on in Europe, especially Holland.
At Rotterdam’s Architectural Institute (Het Nieuw Instituut) they had a thought-provoking exhibit of life in the near future, as lived in used shipping containers. Easily stacked in various configurations, these containers could provide inexpensive housing for the future, and should large tracts of land disappear under the rising waters of climate change, then the same containers would be stacked on barges and people would just carry on.
In Amsterdam the future is already here in NSDM, located in the industrial area of the city a short (free) ferry ride away from downtown.
Having just missed the ferry, I wandered around NDSM one morning without actually realizing what it was. Although it could best be described as an industrial wasteland, it was not without its charms, especially if you like industrial views…
This is a close up of the stacked ‘designer’ container housing in the background of the photo above. They have a mass of air conditioners on top making me think that those metal boxes could get really hot.
A different grouping of battered containers was stacked haphazardly and brightly painted in individual designs. The roof of one container made for a rather funky sun deck of another, with an old couch and some comfy chairs set out for catching a few rays.
Within this grouping the NDSM Treehouse provides studio space for an artist in residence. Although shipping containers come in different lengths, they are all 8 feet wide (only 7 feet 9 inches inside) making for a rather claustrophobic interior. But I suppose that if they are set up properly it might be the equivalent of living in a camper van or boat. This old streetcar provided a similarly narrow home for someone.
We had a lively meal at Pilek, a restaurant made out of shipping containers, just around the corner from the artist grouping. It’s a fascinating place and there’s an artificial beach out front with a view of the city.
Near where you get off the ferry is this stand listing events in the area, including several shows, music and festivals at the NDSM-werf, Pilek Restaurant, Treehouse and more that I never found. The campground is also in this area so if you’re planning on camping it would be fun to check out some of these, all within easy walking distance.
There are several art galleries in the vicinity as well. I really wanted to see this exhibition at the Nieuw Dakota but the gallery was never open when I went by.
More on our 2015 trip to Holland.