Central Station

Stationsplein 9-33
Burgwallen Nieuwe Zijde
P.J.H. Cuypers en A.L. van Gendt
G. Hoogewoud, J.J. Kruyt, A. Oxenaar, P.J.H. Cuypers en Amsterdam, Gebouwen en ontwerpen 1860-1898, 's Gravenhage, 1985 D. van der Horst (red.), Aan 't schipryk Y...Oude en jonge monumenten rond de historische oevers van het IJ, 1995 www.bmz.amsterdam.nl/adam/nl/msp/centraal.html

Railway station on the bank of the IJ

The construction of the National North Holland Railway from Nieuwe Diep (near Den Helder) to Amsterdam in 1869 occasioned the building of a new passenger station on the harbour front in the centre of Amsterdam. Centraal Station was to form a necessary link between the two existing stations, at Willemspoort and Weesperpoort respectively. Railway stations had hitherto always been built to a prescribed standard by engineers from Waterstaat (the state engineering organization). As a front door to the capital city, however, Centraal Station needed to be a landmark building. It was consequently the first station in the Netherlands whose design was entrusted to architects.

P.J.H. Cuypers and A.L. van Gendt won the commission for the station in 1876. In their design, all the functions are brought together in a single building measuring 306 metres in length and 30 metres in depth. The long, narrow plan is an outcome of the building’s function. The mass composition, which has a tall, projecting middle section with a stair tower at the corner, derived from the standard type for ‘first class’ railway stations. On either side of this is a wing with a corner pavilion, plus an extension consisting of goods sheds.

The building is executed in an eclectic style which draws on late Gothic and early Renaissance examples. Structurally it consists of loadbearing brick walls reinforced with hard limestone and sandstone. The roof span is supported by steel trusses and girders. J.A. Alberdingk Thijm and V. de Stuers advised Cuypers on the selection of images for the large bas-relief panels on the facade. When handed over in 1884, the station still lacked a roof over the platforms. The station was completed with its roof (later enlarged) in 1889. Centraal Station was listed as a national architectural monument in 1974. (ARCAM/TJ)