Historically connected to one of Amsterdam’s oldest and most heavily used canals – the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal – this square served many functions as a meeting place, cattle market and as a loading and unloading area for beer.   As with most squares in Amsterdam, its primary function during the better part of 1960s -1980s was as a car parking lot.  Fortunately, despite large scale demolition and reconstruction of buildings in this area starting in the 1990s, the square has been made car free. Nearby an underground parking garage accommodates 400 cars which no longer compete for scarce public space. Now it is the abundance of parked bicycles and scooters that are seen as obstacles to the movement and comfort of people.  Nevertheless, even on a cold January day, the improvement to the public realm is obvious!

nieuwezijdskolk comparison

Nieuwezijds Kolk 1986 (Amsterdam Archives), & 2015 (Thomas Schlijper)