Funenpark, also known as Het Funen, is located between Cruqiuskade, Czaar Peterbuurt and the railway line on Amsterdam’s eastern islands. Today it is a green residential neighbourhood but the site previously housed a transshipment station, a marshalling yard and dock facilities and was part of the so-called ‘Bolwerk van Amsterdam’.
In 1663, a five metre high city wall was built around Amsterdam. The wall served as a line of defence against enemies and had eight gateways and twenty-six bulwarks. Bolwerk Zeeburg was the twenty-sixth and thus the last bulwark ‘that protected the Y’. It had originally been built in case of a Spanish attack from the Zuider Zee, but peace was signed with Spain a year before its completion. Of all the bulwarks, Bolwark Zeeburg remained standing the longest. It was sold for demolition in 1877 and from the end of the nineteenth century until the 1970s the site was used as a marshalling yard by the transport company Van Gend & Loos.
Change of use
When this transport company left, the site lay vacant for many years. It was ideal for residential development but also unsuitable because of the noise pollution caused by trains and other traffic. In 2000, the former government architect Frits van Dongen of Architekten Cie developed a master plan for the triangular site.
The development comprises sixteen blocks, each of which has a different design. Nine architects worked on the scheme. The park is enclosed on the south and east sides by a striking L-shaped building with glass ‘scales’, which serve as a noise barrier for the entire neighbourhood. Het Funen is completely car free and is characterized by abundant green space and a diversity of smaller building types. Because of this diversity, the area has acquired the nickname ‘Hidden Delights’, a reference to the assortment of bonbons in a single box. The development was inspired by the city’s historic courtyards or ‘hofjes’, in which residents shared the exterior space.
City wall revived
The tip of Bolwerk Zeeburg was discovered during excavation work for the new development. It is the most intact bulwark that has been preserved underground to date. A number of large sculptures by Gabriel Lester, inspired by the archaeological finds, are located in Het Funen.