De Ceuvel is billed as the new hotspot tucked away in North Amsterdam. I say tucked because, you may have passed already a hundred times, without being aware that a group of artists, creatives and young entrepreneurs have been beavering away at building a new breeding ground for artists and artisans.
De Ceuvel is a small former shipyard, where boats used to receive coatings to prevent cockles and winkles sticking to the hull. As a result the ground is seriously polluted. When North’s district council decided to give it away for free, most partners were not interested. However, one group of pioneers came up with a great idea. If you placed old houseboats on the land and build a broadwalk around them, no one need get their feet dirty. At the same time, they have planted fox gloves, reeds, grasses and other vegetation which cleanse the soil. So that when the project is over in 10 years time, the soil will be decontaminated.
Everything you see is built using recycled materials. De Ceuvel has crowd sourced paint, timber, bricks, tiles… you name it. So the terrain does look a bit messy when you enter the gates, but if you drop in a couple of weeks later you can see the progress. You can even help out, crowd sourcing does not stop at materials.
It is not just the building materials that are being reused. De Ceuvel has been inspired by ideas from the ecological Gewoonboot on the NDSM wharf to recycle waste water and even install dry toilets. The waste water is filtered through reed bags and returns to the boat cleaner than when it first came through the taps. Similarly, waste from the dry toilets gives off methane gas and that can be used to cook on.
OK so it’s all very ecologically built, but it doesn’t stop there, the innovative team behind Café De Ceuvel have reused 80-year-old mooring posts from the Amsterdam Harbour as the main structure of the restaurant, which is sided by a former lifeguard station which has been cut in half. The gives the construction by architect Wouter Valkenier its characteristic shape. The café has a waterside terrace overlooking Johan van Hasselt West Canal, which luckily was never finished, because it would have sliced North’s southern cape off from the rest of the district. Across the water is the NH Galaxy Hotel and the renovated post-war Disteldorp neighbourhood.
The gang plans to plant a kitchen garden on the roof, complete with fruit trees. And the food will be transparently sourced, so that customers will know precisely where it’s coming from. Coffee beans will be roasted on site and sourced straight from the farmer. Different cooks will be regularly invited in to cater by Café de Ceuvel’s own chef. It is also the home of The Dutch WeedBurger.
So I haven’t even mentioned the cultural programme. Like the yoga classes, theatre productions, films, music, an array of creative happenings. It opens on Midsummernight, so you’ll just have to go and find out for yourself.
You can help make this happen. Café De Ceuvel has started a crowdfund to finish off the job, right now they are almost half way:
Check out the people behind the project
Tuesday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Opens 21 June 2014 at 3 p.m.