Architecture   in   Amsterdam
Nederlandse versie updated  07-01-2008
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The Innercity of Amsterdam is made up of an old harbour centered around the mouth of the Amstel flowing into Het IJ, surrounded by about five canals in the shape of half circles. Partly for defence and partly for transportation reasons. In the last century large suburbs are build on the uotskirts, the socalled tuindorpen (garden towns).

Thanks to the developing of the canals (grachten) Amsterdam used to be called "Venice of the North". They were meant for transportation reasons as well as for open sewer system, which lead in the poor areas to dangerous health hazards. In late 1800 the city council gave that as the reason for filling in some canals. In reality it was done for the needs of the administrators of the city themselves: to get the streets more accessible for the booming traffic, especially the carriages, carts and wagons. The city council never thought in terms of a cultural and monumental value: its own political and economical goal came first, and that is still the case. . .

The historical Innercity of Amsterdam - the area within the Singelgracht (don't get confused with the more in the center situated Singel) - has recently been put on the World Monumentlist.


Innercity Amsterdam
zie Amsterdam groeien
growing of the old city

for more info see growth


the Bijlmer

The Bijlmermeer, or Bijlmer, 10km southeast of Amsterdam, is in 1626 for the first time drained. 46 Years later flooded for defence reasons and in 1825 drained again. To create housing for the growing population of Amsterdam the city council puts here in 1968 a concrete jungle of flatbuildings, with large parking garages and driveways a few meters above the ground and calls it the Bijlmer. It is now surrounded by large low building blocks like Gein and Gaasperplas. This whole area is called Zuid-Oost (South-East) and has an independent deelraad.

However, it takes 8 years before the first decent transportation is build: the metro,. From Amsterdam Central station it goes underground until Amstel trainstation. From there the railway goes about 3 meter above ground direction south east until the new suburb Gein. About 2 km down the track from Amstel Station there is a second railway branching out, parallel on the one to Gein, ending in the new suburb of Gaasperplas. Hereby is in 1976 the remote Bijlmer (and whole South-East) finally connected with Amsterdam.

Now the majority are immigrants, mainly from the former Dutch colony of Surinam and refugees from Africa. The crime rate is higher, but the shoppingcenter as well as the appartments are one of the best and largest in Amsterdam and some of the appartments have great and wide views. Amsterdam Center is just a reliable metro ride of 15 minutes away, but you still have to walk to your frontdoor. The metro runs only until midnight and the night-bus rides unfrequent and is not that all inviting.

In October 1992 around 6.30pm El Al cargo Flight 1862, a Boeing 747, coming from Amsterdam Schiphol, crashes into a flat in the Bijlmermeer. More in the NRC daily paper.

bijlmer blues
bijlmer blues


bijlmer view
bijlmer view


on poles

      Amsterdam, die grote stad
      die is gebouwd op palen.
      Als die stad eens ommeviel
      wie zou dat betalen?

is a well-known Dutch children song.
      Amsterdam, the big city
      it is built on poles.
      If that city ever falls over
      who should pay for that?

The swampy peat makes it necessary to build the houses on long, mostly wooden poles, hammered deep into the ground. And this is often still done that way.

quay walls on poles

Amsterdam on poles

houses on poles

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©keitje I'm not complaining , just explaining