Julianaplein 1
H.G.J. Schelling
N.V. Nederlandsche Spoorwegen
Infra, Voorziening

Innovative railway architecture

Amstel Station in Amsterdam is a combined metro and main railway station on the route between Amsterdam and Utrecht. It was the first station in the Netherlands to be designed as a hub for multiple transport modes, and this is one of several factors in its pioneering reputation. Construction of the station formed part of an unemployment relief scheme. It was a replacement for the former Weesperpoort terminus, which functioned unsatisfactorily. At the time of building its location was at the periphery of Amsterdam and it served new suburbs such as Rivierenbuurt and Watergraafsmeer then in development.

The architect, H.G.J. Schelling, was a Delft-trained engineer who worked for the national railways from 1913 until his retirement in 1954, designing countless railway stations during his career. Amstel Station was in several respects an innovation within his considerable oeuvre. The monumental station hall, which resembles a hybrid between a church and a factory, has a traditional saddle roof combined with windows in the side walls. With its extensive use of glass, steel and concrete, this was the first time daylight played such an important part in station architecture. The hall has low side aisles which contain among other things the ticket offices. The interior of the hall is decorated with frescos by Peter Alma which extol rail transport in a Social Realist style.

The environs of Amstel Station are due for a major renovation. A remodelled public space and the construction of new hotels, shops, housing, offices and amenities are intended to enhance the liveliness, attractiveness and public safety of the zone. These plans accord with the municipal and national policy of concentrating new building around transport hubs, thereby relieving pressure on the city’s green belt. The completion of this operation is expected for 2020. (ARCAM/DW)