Amsterdam treasures its special areas
If it is up to Amsterdam, the city will soon have three protected cityscapes. The Municipal Executive has said ‘yes’ to the proposal from three heritage organisations to designate three areas as municipal protected areas. It concerns part of Oud-Zuid and West, the Admiralenbuurt and Betondorp. Amsterdam wants to protect these areas because of their high urban planning, architectural and cultural-historical value. Now that the Board has given its approval, the procedure can begin.
The application to designate the areas as municipal protected areas was made by heritage organisations Heemschut, the Cuypersgenootschap and Amstelodamum. The B and W’s intention will be available for inspection for six weeks from mid-April. Interested parties can give their opinions.
When we protect a city area, we want to preserve its historical character. This includes the layout of an area, the street pattern and the way greenery and water are embedded in the area. But also the position of the buildings and the materials, colours and facades of the buildings make an area recognisable and unique.
The status of protected cityscape does not mean that nothing is allowed or possible in that area. Renewal, such as housing construction and sustainability, remains possible within the area. But the changes must not affect the special spatial character. What is and what is not allowed will be laid down in the zoning plan or the environmental plan for the area. There are already rules in place to prevent demolition without a permit.
Reflecting the city’s history
The three areas that are now entering the process of becoming municipal protected areas reflect the growth of the city from the end of the 19th century to the first quarter of the last century. Both the urban design and the buildings and greenery are still easily recognisable and characteristic of this period of the city’s history.
These are the three areas that we want to protect and this is why we consider the character of these areas so valuable:
The area in Old South and West is the Overtoom and Vondel neighbourhood north of Vondel Park, Concertgebouw and Museumplein neighbourhood and De Pijp with its Amstel banks. These parts of Old South are typical of Dutch urban planning between 1860 and 1910. They contain houses built for the well-to-do classes as well as for shopkeepers and workers. The buildings in Old South are of high quality and relatively well preserved.
The Admiralenbuurt in district West is an example of a working-class district from the 1920s. This can be seen, among other things, in the road pattern in which the old layout along ditches can still be recognised. The spatial structure and the original buildings with the Mercatorplein, designed by H.P Berlage, are very well preserved.
Betondorp is a unique example of a Dutch garden village. Characteristic is the experimental construction, with a striking use of (much) concrete. This was a modern and relatively cheap building material at the time. This allowed Amsterdam to build many new houses in a short time. Betondorp also has a striking history of its inhabitants, from the many Jewish workers who moved to the neighbourhood shortly after its construction around 1925, to later residents such as Johan Cruijff and Gerard and Karel van het Reve.