The Red Carpet

Simon Sprietsma
Gemeente Amsterdam
Openbare ruimte

For many visitors to Amsterdam, the visual axis from Stationsplein towards Damrak and Dam Square is their first glimpse of the city. As part of the preparations for the wedding of crown prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima Zorreguieta in 2002, the paving on Damrak and in Dam Square was revamped. The wedding, together with the excavation of roads in connection with the start of the construction of the North/South metro line in 2003, provided the impetus for the redevelopment of this traffic artery.

The scheme takes as its starting point the separation of traffic streams and pedestrian priority. The aim is to create a high-quality, visually appealing environment – with pleasant squares, pedestrian walkways and spacious shopping streets – and a strong visual unity. In addition, each sub area will have its own character and aura. A dominant feature is the dark red brick paving on roads and pavements, the so-called ‘Rode Loper’ (red carpet), which will be further enhanced with the planting of a species of elm tree, the Frontier Elm. The leaves of this tree, newly introduced in the Netherlands, turn red during the autumn months.

The Rode Loper will be situated in Amsterdam’s historic centre, the seventeenth-century ring of canals and the nineteenth-century district De Pijp. The route runs from Damrak,via Beursstraat, Beursplein, Rokin, Oude Turfmarkt and De Munt to Vijzelstraat, and then from Vijzelgracht and Nieuwe Vijzelstraat to Ferdinand Bolstraat. In the city’s Zuid district, it follows Ferdinand Bolstraat as far as Van Ostadestraat. The Rode Loper thus runs virtually parallel with the route of the North/South Line.

The results of the project are gradually becoming visible. Damrak was completed in 2015. The eye-catching street furniture, designed by studio SPECTRA, that used to stand here has not been replaced. Rokin, Muntplein and Ferdinand Bolstraat are scheduled for completion in 2017, with Beursplein and Vijzelgracht following in 2018.