Client: Municipality Amsterdam, & Zef Hemel
About: A fictional research on the opportunities to prepare Amsterdam for the doubling of the amount of visitors in the future. “Volksvlijt 2056” exhibition in the Public Library of Amsterdam in 2016.
Team: Steven Broekhof (studio Nou) & Studio Donna van Milligen Bielke
Long queues at museum entrances, overflowing shopping streets, and traffic congestion caused by tourist. Amsterdam, a city with fewer than 900,000 inhabitants, attracts over 17 million tourists every year. A number that is set to double over the next decade.
The balance between inhabitants and tourists has been upset. Emotions run high. Urban life is slowly being driven out of the city, to be replaced by a tourist monoculture. Chains of ice cream parlors and Tours & Tickets shops. Pressure groups are already talking about the dangers of “the Venice effect” and warn against “the Disneyfication” of the center. A ban on more hotels in the center has already come into effect.
The government is trying to spread tourism more widely by marketing the coastal resort of Zandvoort as Amsterdam Beach and promoting Muiderslot as Amsterdam Castle.
But that’s just a drop in the ocean. Visitors come for a maximum of three days and, in that short space of time, they all race through the same bucket list: Anne Frank House, the Dam, the Van Gogh Museum, the Red Light District. All this is located in the historical center within a radius of five kilometres.
Operation BYPASS calls for the intensification and growth of the inner city within the historic boundaries. When you consider the future of a city don’t just look at its inheritance, but above all to its potential. Instead of luring visitors to the outskirts of the city, the City Centre should be able to grow within its Historical Boundaries. Amsterdam will get a new urbanity. By making incisions in the urban fabric new space arises. Referring to an old heart which needs a bypass operation to stay alive. Adding new streets will provide a better blood flow. Today Amsterdam mainly represents the city of the seventeenth century, but to be a metropolis the city should be able to grow to satisfy its social needs. Amsterdam shouldn’t only tell the story of the past, but mainly today’s story.