Mathew Suen

De Nederland

For centuries, the Marine Etablissement site has existed in the heart of Amsterdam as a blank on a map. As part of national defense, its status as a secure location meant that the public rarely ever got to see it and despite its public location, is mostly forgotten to most Amsterdammers. Given an increasingly likely scenario of the Royal Dutch Navy giving up the site (today mostly used for just light exercises, recruitment, and state events), a radical new masterplan would have to be proposed which would be captivating enough to convince the public, feasible enough to entice a developer, and sound enough to weather the politics. De Nederland takes its cues from the whole of the Netherlands. The core idea is to give the public back the public realm. It becomes quickly evident when looking at Holland's famed canals that water acts as the space in which the public engages with each other. The canal to the Dutch is the street to any other and thus, it was intended that the original section of water (which was filled in during the construction of the Ij Tunnel) would be given back to the city as a public park while the rest of the site (which had always existed as built naval base) would be used for private development. The designed permutation here suggests that the majority of the site be allocated to residential units of various types as economic conditions do not favour high concentrations of retail or commercial space at that location. The image of the Netherlands is presented as a kitsch interpretation of various Dutch artefacts from polders, canals, and dikes to Delft porcelain houses one can buy from the many tourist oriented gift shops which line the historic quarters of Dutch cities.