Thanks to the arrival of natural gas in the Sixties, the site of the former gasworks in the Western part of Amsterdam became available for new urban use. The high density of the surrounding residential areas logically prescribed a public function both for the buildings and factory site. Matters were complicated by the fact that the premises are classified monuments and the terrain is heavily polluted.
Yet here was the location and opportunity to create a Park for the Twenty-first Century.
The area is defined by the boat-canal and the railway that link Amsterdam and Haarlem. There are six discernable enclaves, each with a distinct character. Industrial history at the former gas works, urban green in two parks to the East and the West, recreational green of allotment gardens, excitement at Adventure Land and serenity in St. Barbara cemetery. This diversity within a relatively short distance is interpreted positively and enhanced by creating logical and inviting connections with adjacent neighborhoods and the city as a whole.
The remnants of an industrial past
provide the backdrop for an inspiring
meeting of nature and culture
in an urban setting.
That is what this park is all about: a combination of leisure and performance that transforms a neglected area of the city into a focus of activity.
The new park offers all that, but more and different.
As a continuation of the leafy canopy of Wester Park trees provide shade from the sun and shelter in the rain. At ground level the difference between the two areas couldn’t be starker. Open space between buildings is paved with mostly recycled material. This is a very urban park.
Gardens are inside. Buildings and gas tanks contain sport facilities, a winter garden, Mediterranean hothouse, water playground, roofs are used for sunbathing and picnicking, and polluted ground is concentrated in four sculptural and contemplative tower gardens.
This park is dynamic, meant to grow in phases and will never be finished. It gives the impression of not having been designed. It is self-evident and looks as if it has always been there.
Borough of Wester Park
and Urban Planning