Amsterdam’s Future: Man-made Islands

Amsterdam is arguably one of the most beautiful and intriguing cities in Europe. Built in the 12th century, a huge part of it was a fishing village along the banks of Amstel River. The fishermen at the time built a bridge across the waterway that can be locked and served as a barrier that protected their fishing village from the rising sea water.

Amsterdam became one of the richest and influential cities in the 17th century, amassing wealth through trading expeditions around the world. Today, the Netherlands’ capital is the center of arts, culture, and economic activities and a top tourism destination. Due to the popularity of Amsterdam as a place to live, work and play, its population has now reached around 1.1 million. The pressure to create more housing while keeping the Amsterdam a liveable city has pushed the city to be more creative in finding solutions.

In 1997, the construction of IJburg, a man-made archipelago just about 15 minutes from the city center, began. It was created by reclaiming the land and by raising the land to two meters above the water level.

Today, IJburg consists of six artificial islands that ‘floats’ on IJssel lake. Four more islands are planned to be constructed in the future. It was designed as a residential area but also with leisure amenities (parks, beaches, playgrounds), artist workshops, schools, harbors, offices and hotels. The planned area to be reclaimed is 4.5 sq. km. and is expected to house around 45,000 population. Envisioned as a center of sustainability, creativity and diversity, newly-created living spaces like IJburg are the future of Amsterdam.

The report on Amsterdam’s Future: Man-made Islands, the third of the my reclamation series (see also Rotterdam: The Manhattan of the Maas River and Netherlands: The Land of Reclamation)

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