Once upon a time, it was no more than a single railway track just south of Amsterdam. Fast forward some 40 years, this former wasteland is transformed into the Zuidas (The Financial Mile) and looks like Manhattan. Taking a guided tour around the Zuidas – just around the corner from my home – is a regular eyeopener. As is a good look at the beautiful architectural models of the Zuidas, made by Adam Doyce, an American living in Haarlem.
The tour starts in the southern part, now the home of expats, lawyers, bankers and entrepreneurs. And the occasional famous DJ. Although the Zuidas was intended for office buildings, when the last crisis hit around 2009 the city decided to add a residential area.
Still most of the buildings are offices. Though not all of them banks and financials institutions as originally intended for the so called ‘Financial Mile’. Dominating the southern part is ABN AMRO headquarters, the first major office built. Over the years surrounded by the ITO tower, several major law offices and an ever extending World Trade Center filled with small businesses, entrepreneurs and eh, a growing number of shell companies owning no more than a letter box for tax purposes.
For a great number of years the Zuidas looked to me like a random collections of skyscrapers near ‘my’ train & tram station. But during the tour it turns out to be a carefully created part of town, designed by a great number of renown international architects.
The best place to mesmerize over the development and beautiful design of the Zuidas is in the Zuidas Informatiecentrum, where the architectural models are displayed. Most of them made by Adam Doyce.
Models of the future Zuidas include a much larger train station, the nearby highway going underground and of course more offices. But they were all made before the current Covid crisis that is forcing most people to work from home. The city may once again have to come up with a new plan.
Zuidas Informatiecentrum Amsterdam, http://www.zuidas.nl
Guided tour: Josje Huijzer (more information: jHuijzer@hotmail.com)
ABC Architectuurcentrum Haarlem – Adam Doyce (Transue), www.architectuurhaarlem.nl