Amsterdam's Plans for a City under its Canals – Nederlands
The city of Amsterdam has unveiled grand plans to tackle its overcrowding, traffic problems and shear lack of space. In spite of the bicycle being a main means of transport within the city, there is a huge shortage of parking permits and garage spaces, with city residents having to wait as long as seven years to get their entitlement.
Along both sides of Amsterdam’s famous waterways, the streets are feeling the strain of overcrowding, and traffic is frequently thrown into chaos for hours by delivery vans and rubbish collectors.
So what do you do when property prices are soaring, land is scarce and being an old city, there’s only so much you can do to change around the infrastructure? Well, the city’s engineers have proposed plans to build an underground city, not just any underground city, but one that is under the canals. This will apparently provide one million square feet of underground retail, leisure and parking facilities.
Amsterdam was originally built on drained, swampy marshland and many of the classic Dutch gabled houses along its canals are still precariously supported by underground wooden beams. As Amsterdam sits on a 30-metre layer of waterproof clay Dutch engineers believe it is easier to build in the clay under the canals. Under the plans, canal water will be temporarily pumped out in order to start construction beneath. Once the canal floor has been resealed, it will be possible to carry on working underneath while pouring water back into the canals.
One of the city’s aldermen expressed concerns that Amsterdammers would not want to “live like moles” underground. The designers have already thought of solutions to make underground living pleasant, one example being the projection of images of the sky on to the ceilings. I believe, if the end result is the beautification of the city by getting rid of unsightly carparks, and making traffic less hellish for everyday living, I’m sure the citizens of Amsterdam will come around to the idea. When I first saw this bicycle station, it was a novel experience as I’d never seen so many bikes in one spot before, however you got to admit that it’s a visual pollution of the skyline.
And, if you’re planning on visiting Amsterdam in the near future and are worried about not being able to do your canal cruise, do not panic as construction is not expected to begin till 2018.