How to deal with the heritage of a century of social housing and preparing for an even greater future?

One of the most successful yet controversial cases of massive urban planning in Amsterdam in Amsterdam is Amsterdam’s New West, also known as the Western Garden Cities. The area is a typical postwar neighborhood, build after the plans of urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren, who created an ideal mixture of ‘light, air and space’.

As the initial plan was designed to remain up-to-date until the year 2000, the area does not match the needs of 21st century citizens. Therefore the municipality and housing corporations started a gigantic restructuring project. In this project the stakeholders need to balance between using and maintaining the qualities of the initial plan, while improving the buildings and public space to create a neighborhood that will be as successful as it was in the past.

This ISHF meeting and accompanying tour is about this balancing act: how to deal with the heritage of a century of social housing and preparing for an even more changeable and challenging future. Experts Anita Blom (architectural historian, Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands), Wouter van Veldhuis (urban planner, MUST Urbanism) and Ivan Nio (urban geographer) look back on the first phase of restructuring Slotervaart and share six lessons that area developers dealing with post-war neighborhood can apply in their projects.


Afterwards Paul Vlok of architour takes us on a bike tour through the area. We will see some of the initial project, built just before or after the Second World War, like the Airey dwellings. And we will visit some restructuring projects, like the Parkrand building and the Klarenflat (a DIY project, which residents partly renovated themselves.) and we will visit the most beautiful urban beach of Amsterdam, at the shores of the Sloterplas.

Find a detailed description of the bike tour here


14:00 – 15:00 hrs     Meeting, six lessons in restructuring post war residential areas, after analyzing Amsterdam New West.

15:00 – 17:00 hrs     Bike tour through the area.

(for those interested the bike tour can be extended untill 18:00 hrs.)


   Wouter Veldhuis, author of the book Renewal of the Western Garden Cities of Amsterdam, architect and urban planner and director of MUST Urbanism (urban transformation, public spaces, water, infrastructure, regional strategy and cartography).

Ivan Nio, author of the book Renewal of the Western Garden Cities of Amsterdam, researcher and advisor on the interdisciplinary area between architectural design and social science research.

   Anita Blom, author of the book Renewal of the Western Garden Cities of Amsterdam, architectural historian and works at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands


Anneke Bokern is an Amsterdam-based architecture journalist and founder of architour. She writes about Dutch architecture for German and international media, develops programmes, organizes tours and guides groups.

Paul Vlok is an architect and partner in architour. He worked as an architect for various renowned Dutch architecture firms and teaches at the academy of architecture of Amsterdam. He was focus has always been on housing and urban planning. As partner in architour he organizes and guides excursions and gives lectures.


The Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed / Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE)  represents economic, social and cultural historical values. People feel connected to each other via heritage and the past: they derive identity from it. The RCE carries out its mission to help Dutch heritage to thrive and it does so by creating awareness in stakeholders about the value of our heritage. Thus, RCE plays a mediating role and is committed to connecting all the parties, in order to preserve, sustainably develop and provide access to the most valuable heritage in our country.



Date, time: Friday 16 June 2017, 14:00 p.m. – 17:00 p.m.

Location: Polanentheater, Polanenstraat 174, Amsterdam

Fee: none- registration needed (see below)

Language: English

Contact:  Anita Blom (a.blom@cultureelerfgoed.nl)


Registrations for this event have closed. We booked the bikes and don’t want to disappoint anyone, not being able to attend. You can come to the lectures though (and if we have bikes left you can take part in the tour as well, but we cannot guarantee your participation).