Amsterdam counts more than 8,500 listed monuments. Its 17th century canal ring attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year.
But Amsterdam also has a wealth of modern architecture to offer – from 1920s brick expressionism to contemporary harbour conversions and newly created artificial archipelagos. It’s also one of the European cities famous for their Smart City approach, innovative sustainability ideas and high quality of life.
After Amsterdam turned its back against the water for nearly a century, the city planners rediscovered its waterfront in the early 1990s.
New housing areas were created on the former Docklands around the year 2000, with Borneo-Sporenburg as the most experimental neighbourhood. Over the next years the entire southern shore, from the docklands in the east to the wood shipping harbour in the west, was re-developed.
But this was only the start of the new developments along the banks of the river IJ. To the east of the Central Station, Oosterdokseiland has been turned into a high-density city district, and to the west of the station, housing area Westerdokseiland and artificial peninsula IJdock were created.
On the other side of the water, in Amsterdam-Noord, artists and media companies give the former NDSM wharf a second lease of life. Former industrial area Buiksloterham is being redeveloped as a new district with self-built housing projects, and at De Ceuvel house boats on dry land serve as office for creative companies, while plants purify the heavily polluted ground around them.
The latest addition is the Houthaven, a former harbour area which is being turned into an energy neutral neighbourhood.
The biggest recent land reclamation project in Amsterdam is IJburg, a new archipelago on 7 artificial islands, where 45,000 people will live and work one day. It features a wide variety of housing typologies, including floating homes.
Considering the growth of the city, however, even these areas won’t suffice. Accordingly, the municipality has made plans to turn parts of the current harbour into HavenStad, while at the same time office parks in the Southeast of the city are also being transformed into new housing districts.
If everything goes according to plan, the metropolitan region of Amsterdam will grow from 2,8 million inhabitants in 2017 to 3,2 million in 2040 – while maintaining the current quality of life.