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Westergasfabriek: Amsterdam’s iconic event venue

Westergasfabriek: Amsterdam’s iconic event venue

Lush greenery, historic buildings and a bustling art scene make the Westergasfabriek (Western Gasworks) one of Amsterdam’s special highlights!

The park and its historic factory buildings, which also host the IamExpat Fair, are a popular convergence point for tourists and locals alike, whether they’re looking for business or leisure.

The legacy of the 130-year-old gasworks encompasses industrial progress, artistic advancement and environmental stewardship. All these stories can be seen in the way the park has been preserved and expanded, creating unique juxtapositions and harmonies.

History of the Westergasfabriek

The factory was first built in the 1880s. Located next to waterways and easily accessible by railway and road, it was a major source of gas for Amsterdam streetlamps well into the 20th century.

Most of the buildings on the site were designed by local architect Isaac Gosschalk. With his trademark Dutch Neo-Renaissance style, he sought to create a factory that was at once functional and aesthetically pleasing.

A fresh breath of life

Gas production continued until 1967. In the following decades, the factory grounds fell into disrepair and were used for little more than storage until the mid-1990s.

The use of Westergasfabriek buildings as temporary sites for artistic functions first began in 1992, but quickly escalated to the point that the site was designated a permanent cultural zone.

High-profile art fairs, concerts and conferences now frequently take place in the 18 industrial heritage buildings.

Throughout the summer, smaller community events take place on a weekly basis.

Revitalising the park grounds

The once desolate grounds of the park itself now teem with life, thanks to environmental efforts. Recently, work has been underway to find sustainable energy solutions for the historic buildings themselves.

The entire site has been powered by green electricity since January, 2014.

Chief venues

The Zuiveringshal West (former gas refinery) dates from 1885 and is famous for its magnificent ceiling, built to withstand gas explosions. It is now used for large-scale meetings and creative events.

Probably the most recognisable venue in the Westergasfabriek is the Gashouder (gas holder). Built in 1902, it was the largest in Europe. Today it hosts cutting-edge events of all kinds, including the famous Awakenings dance festivals.

Pazzanistraat, also known as "The Street," is lined with restaurants and galleries. Here you’ll find the North Sea Jazz Club, where smaller concerts, meals and borrel can be enjoyed in a cosy atmosphere. Nearby, Het Ketelhuis cinema attracts moviegoers and arthouse film buffs to its converted movie theatres.

Prominent events in the park

Since 2004, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam has taken place every January and July at the Westergasfabriek. The Gashouder and several other buildings host thousands of spectators for this fashion extravaganza.

The annual Holland Festival frequently holds concerts and shows at the park, including operas, dance performances and film features.

Other international events that have been held at the Westergasfabriek include renowned photography exhibition Unseen and The Next Web, a high-profile IT conference.

Visitor info

The Westergasfabriek can be reached easily with Amsterdam public transit:
 From Amsterdam Central Station: take Bus 21 to Van Hallstraat (Haarlemmerweg).
 From Leidseplein: take Tram 10 to Van Limburg Stirumstraat.

Though driving is not permitted in the Westerpark, parking is available nearby at QPark on Van Bleiswijkstraat 8, 1051 DG.

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