Connecting the Waterways of Amsterdam

The team at ORG is developing advice concerning the construction of new connections between the banks of the IJ river in Amsterdam. The goal is to provide a comprehensive and durable infrastructure plan for cyclists through completing two metropolitan figures, a cycling ring around the city center and a ladder figure along the banks of the IJ. The points where the ring crosses the IJ become locations for primary connections to be constructed in the near future, and the ladder structure provides for secondary connections (bridges, tunnels, ferries, et cetera) later.   Amsterdam is a rapidly expanding city with about 1 million inhabitants, and this growth puts pressure on the city's infrastructure. Meanwhile, the new growth patterns are shifting the centre of gravity of the city away from the historical center. The Amsterdam of the future is emerging along a ring around the historical center and on the developable North bank of the river IJ.   At present, there are very few connections between both banks of the IJ for cyclists: almost all people cross with ferries, which are quickly reaching their maximum capacity. Attempts to construct bridges or tunnels in the past have failed as it has been difficult for the municipality of Amsterdam and the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, to reach an agreement. The decision has proven to be a complicated issue as the many forms of connection under consideration have to be acceptable to both cyclists and traffic on the IJ itself - preserving one of the most important arteries for transport over water, while also providing cyclists with a connection that is both useful and pleasant.   In order to tackle this challenge, both parties have jointly commissioned the independent Advisory Committee Oeververbindingen Rijkswateren Amsterdam, headed by Alexander D’Hooghe, with Larissa van Der Lug and Maarten Schmitt, to formulate where, when, and in what way the banks of the IJ should be connected in the (near) future.   Anticipating the committee’s final advice which will be published before the summer of 2020, a publication with preliminary hypotheses outlines the two main elements: a bicycle ring around the historical center and across the IJ, and a ladder structure along the banks of the IJ, will provide a durable framework around which the Amsterdam of the future can connect. These two figures define the location of two primary points: one east and one west of the city center.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Municipality of Amsterdam, Rijkswaterstaat




mixed, public, infrastructure

Alexander D’Hooghe, Tim Peeters, M. Doras Alver

Larissa van der Lug, Maarten Schmitt, VU Amsterdam, GoudappelCoffeng, Deltares, Arup


Noordkasteel and Oosterweelknoop