Amsterdam Human Capital by Willem Salet, Sako Musterd

By Willem Salet, Sako Musterd

The altering spatial association of the town of Amsterdam displays a larger-scale approach: the ordinary form of Western towns is altering around the globe. for hundreds of years, the city center was once taken with no consideration because the point of interest for overseas contacts and day by day actions. The essays amassed the following contemplate how city areas were transformed—not purely spatially yet socially, economically, and culturally—into multi-centered metropolitan arrays, with participants analyzing the recent city identities which could emerge from such altering stipulations.

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The mean houses and monasteries there stood close to water level on the sodden land. The inspectors also noted increasing crowding in the city. ” Many of the newcomers therefore resorted to “the making of dwellings” outside the city walls. HumanCapital 06-03-2003 16:50 Pagina 33 What the complainants and the inspectors were observing were the first repercussions of the sudden expansion of the Dutch cities at the end of the 16th century. Enkhuizen tripled in area, and Rotterdam doubled. In size Amsterdam was not much bigger in 1570 than it had been in 1450, but its population had increased sevenfold to some 30,000.

In 1620, it was more than 88,000 and in 1640, 139,000. The city’s population had tripled within a single generation. Many of the immigrants came from the overpopulated countryside, particularly from Gelderland and Friesland. Others, especially those from the Southern Netherlands, were seeking a safe haven after years of war and persecution. From the end of the 16th century, Amsterdam’s city fathers were therefore constantly busy with expansion projects, large and small. Between 1578 and 1586, a new fortification was dug around the city, from the IJ to the Amstel along the line of what is now the Herengracht.

Its townscape was a cacophony of architectural styles, building volumes and heights, resulting from an utter lack of coordination and planning control. Although plagued by traffic congestion worse than Paris when Haussmann came to power, interventions in the infrastructure remained modest and insufficient. They were thwarted by the nation’s dominant liberal, laissez-faire ideology. London was denied the preferential treatment that on the Continent was often seen as the natural prerogative of the national capital.

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