BOONDOGGLES

Widening of the Haarlemmerhouttuinen
(only partially in use nowadays)

In the 1960s, the municipality planned to increase a two-lane motorway to four lanes, in the same direction as the railway tracks to the West of Central Station. For this addition, 640 houses, adjacent to the Haarlemmerhouttuinen and Haarlemmerplein, were torn down. A sum of almost 1500 residents were evicted from their homes as a result.

Opposing this move, residents criticised the redevelopment of the area, stating that ‘the wounds should be healed, the demolition works must be stopped’. In 1973, the municipality decided to reduce the number of lanes from four to two again and proposed that the vacant space be allocated to the use of social housing.

Rail line overpass near the Gein area, providing a direct link between the A6 and A9 motorways.
(nowadays a tunnel for cyclists and pedestrians)

In the 1960s it was proposed to expand Amsterdam’s motorway network by constructing a road which would provide a direct link between Flevoland, the A6 and A9 motorways. The road would pass through the green area to the Southeast of Amsterdam.

After a slow decision-making process and protests held by local residents and environmentalists, the national government devised an alternative plan to expand the existing road network. This solution did not require the use of the rail line overpass, which had already been constructed. Cyclists and pedestrians use it today, by which it exhibits a rare occurrence where space is overprovided for the users due to its initial purpose altering.

Ring road overpass for the Schiphol line in the direction of Museumplein.
(never been put to use)

In the 1970s, the Dutch National Railways sought to establish a high-speed link between Amsterdam’s inner city and Schipol airport via Museumplein. The idea was to construct a tunnel to accommodate an underground railway station, serving the southern part of the old city. In 1978, Station Zuid WTC was opened – Amsterdam’s second largest station today, but at the time only considered as a temporary solution to the plans at large.

Terminus ‘Amsterdam Museumplein’ was never realised. During the 1980s, the city’s planning department changed their trajectory and in 1986 decided to create a fast connection to Schipol by extending the existing railway network. The first segment of the tunnel had already been built at this point. Situated under the southern part of the ring road, it was used ad hoc for raves. A few years ago, concrete blocks were placed at the entrances to block this kind of activity in the space.

Raampoort bridge near Tweede Hugo de Grootstraat.
(meant as a thoroughfare between the redeveloped Jordaan neighbourhood and the inner city; has been put to use partially)

In the 1960s a bridge was renovated and widened to make the popular route between Rozengracht – Marnixstraat – Raampoort – Jan van Galenstraat – ring road A10 more accessible. When in use, it was realised that the corner cars had to turn between Raampoort and Rozengracht was itself too narrow to accommodate the increase in traffic. Cars were therefore directed in and out of the city via alternative routes.

Nowadays, the bridge is rarely used as a thoroughfare. Its original intention is still quite explicit through its extra lanes and unnecessarily broad sidewalks.

Cloverleaf interchange for A6-A9 junction near Amstelveen, including two sand embankments.
(traces of cloverleaf have been cleared, embankments have been redeveloped as residential areas)

A straight connection between Amsterdam and Rotterdam was envisioned in the 1932 National Motorway Plan for The Netherlands, which would cut right through the present day ‘Groene Hart’. The plan was to create the A3 motorway to connect to the A9, but protests from environmentalists and the coming-into-existence of alternative routes halted construction.

However, in Amstelveen preparations to accommodate the connection from A3 to A9 were already underway. Spacious overpasses, collector and distributor bends, ponds and other landscape elements were constructed and, until a few years ago, remained as signs of the initial plans.

Recently, the national planning department eradicated most of the infrastructure and sand embankments – leaving only the ponds as a silent reminder of the envisioned motorway junction ‘Amstelplein’. Streets in nearby neighbourhoods still show signs of this unrealised plan, with names such as ‘Rotterdamsepad’ and ‘Spangenhof’.

Unfinished metro station underneath Weesperplein junction.
(in use as a fallout shelter during the Cold War)

In 1968, plans for Amsterdam’s metro network included four metro lines: a ring line, a north-south line, two south-east lines, an east-west line and the Singelgracht line.
The east-west line and Singelgracht lines were never finished. Because of wet Dutch soil, it was necessary to tear down thousands of houses to accommodate the metro tunnels for these lines. In the mid 1970s, protests against this demolition led to the city council closing any plans for the other lines, although new construction techniques led to the decision to push ahead with the north-south line some fifteen years ago.
Some of the works had already started for the unfinished lines, leading to a transfer station linking the south-east and Singelgracht lines – just underneath Weesperplein. At this crossroad, the concrete casting of the transfer station was eventually given the function of a fallout shelter during the Cold War. It included fresh air filters, power turbines and sanitary fittings.
There are still signs of what was meant before. Today, you can see ‘tiles’ attached to the ceiling of Weesperplein station’s main hall. These are not decorative elements – they are tables that can be dismantled to be used in case of a nuclear attack.
Several proposals were made to repurpose the fallout shelter, including a parking garage and towards the more extreme scale – a theme park. There has been activity from then untill now in the concrete ‘no man’s land’, some plays and the occasional rave but nothing fixed.