YAYS Amsterdam Maritime -Werkspoor Art
insider stories  

/ from steam engine factory to apartments

from steam engine factory to apartments.

for the curious  

Did you know that YAYS Amsterdam Maritime was once a steam engine factory? A local piece of history located just east of the old city centre on the Oostenburg peninsula, near the shipyards of which some are still working. You can spot visual references to this heritage in the interior design and artwork of the building, including the one you just scanned the QR code…

A brief history

The steam engine factory belonged to the Werkspoor N.V. company, which was founded in 1826 as a repair shop for steam engines of the Amsterdam Steamship Company. Around 1850, Van Vlissingen-Dudok van Heel was the largest machine factory in the Netherlands, employing around 1,000 people. Its products included steam engines, boilers, and machinery for the sugar industry, and from 1843 to 1846 several steam locomotives. The company was even granted the Royal designation for building some steam tugs for Egypt in 1850.  

However, the company ran into financial difficulties several times and underwent reorganizations, including a name change to Koninklijke Fabriek van Stoom- en andere Werktuigen Werkspoor. In 1891, it continued as Nederlandsche Fabriek van Werktuigen en spoorwegmaterieel with financial help from the Stork machine factory.

Oostenburg Island

The location of YAYS Amsterdam Maritime, Oostenburg Eiland, has a rich history dating back to the 17th century when it was allocated to the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC). The VOC used the island for equipping (outfitting) ships and for storing products brought in from the East, such as porcelain and spices. These goods were stored in the Oostindische Zeemagazijn, a huge warehouse whose construction had begun around 1660. Shipyards, lines, and other buildings also sprang up, making Oostenburg a hub of activity during the time of the VOC.  

In 1795, the VOC ceased to exist, and most of the site lay fallow until the foundations for the later Werkspoor were laid by Paul van Vlissingen in 1827.  Today, Oostenburg is a lively and vibrant part of Amsterdam, with plenty of opportunities for urban exploration. 

YAYS Amsterdam Maritime - Artwork Werkspoor
YAYS Amsterdam Maritime -Werkspoor Art

Art and industry

Executives at Werkspoor have always shown a great interest in the fine arts. This is evident in the aesthetic design of their products, as well as in the commissions they made to visual artists, which demonstrate a rapprochement between art and industry.  

 For instance, in the 1930s, ir. M.R. Damme, director of Werkspoor, commissioned paintings to depict Werkspoor’s productivity, many of which can be seen on Werkspoor calendars. Poster artist Wim ten Broek also produced a series of beautiful gouaches (a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance) for calendar sheets in 1939. The gouache artworks from this series are displayed in all the apartments and in the homebase. 


For more information, please visit our neighbours of the Werkspoormuseum. 

YAYS Amsterdam Maritime, Family Apartment, Living Room

Figee crane 2868

Not far from this landmark you find our Amsterdam The Crane by YAYS, another piece of Amsterdam history where you can stay as well. This place truly is bucket list material, an experience of a lifetime for fans of history, design, architecture and anyone looking for fun and indulgence.  

 Originally constructed in 1957 this former Figee crane 2868 is now a monumental building. YAYS facilitated its renovation in collaboration with the initiators, the municipality of Amsterdam and the Dutch monumental care. The crane was fully dismantled, renovated at a Frisian shipyard and one-and-a-half year later it was transferred over the Dutch waters to be restored at its original place as a luxury apartment in 2017, complemented by superb views and interior design from the renowned Dutch designer Edward van Vliet. 

 In the living room a special suitcase is placed, which dates back from the time the crane was in its original function and operational. By unlocking this ‘time capsule’ you’ll experience the crane’s history through original memorabilia (photos, tools and items) donated by Henk Roos, the crane’s original driver. Including a letter and a soundscape where Henk himself shares the unique story of Figee crane 2868. 

Amsterdam The Crane by YAYS, Bedroom Entrance
The Crane by YAYS - Crane driver suitcase
YAYS Insider, Mario

meet the writer.


Mario loves Amsterdam and its history. Before becoming a YAYS Insider, he was a boy scout, a tour guide and a candy maker. His favourite place in Amsterdam is the kinderboerderij of Westerpark, a little city farm unknown to many locals. Even on a day off, he loves to hang out in the neighbourhood with his daughter or his friends, discovering hidden gardens. Mario speaks Mexican Spanish and Texan English, knows a lot of Polish words and is working on his Dutch.

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