The Amsterdam municipality’s plans to create a port on the eastern part of the Dijksgracht were not made in consultation with local residents, say Bart Uitdenbogaart and Petra Catz.

Bart Uitdenbogaert and Petra Katz

The Amsterdam city council definitely wants the Dijksgracht, between the Kattenburgerstraat and the VOC quay, a port with berths for forty large tour boats and thirty barges.

Since 2012, this plan has been mentioned multiple times in a single sentence as ‘intent’ or as ‘ambition’ in a memo. No real decision has ever been made on it, it has never been presented as a plan, the city council has only discussed it this week, and there has never been any public input into the plan. And yet, it was presented as an irreversible decision.

fear of discomfort

The owners of the tour boats and the contractors who use the deck barges to repair the trusses don’t seem to want it. Local residents are not happy about it either. They fear the plan will cause tourist boats to come and go from early morning until late at night, and inconvenience from moving construction materials to repair piers and bridges. The planned bike path, which will be used by five to ten thousand cyclists and street sweepers from the municipality every day, will also end at the very dangerous intersection with the Kattenburgerstraat.

Nature also suffers in this plan. Compensation is in progress, but appears to be in conflict with the Nature Conservation Act. The municipality avoids legal review because, according to him, the residents are not receptive.

additional discomfort

Aside from the port plans, local residents will also have to deal with additional inconvenience as a result of the High Frequency Train Project, the six terraces at the VOC quay and the increasing number of visitor boats to the new museum in Oostenburg.

For the municipality, they are separate and feasible portions. For the neighbors it is an addition, a nightmare.

It is not clear why the council wants this. Strange but true: There is no concrete justification for the claim that forty berths are needed for large tour boats. Numbers offer no guidance. And the situation of the berth in the center is also not very clear, partly due to recent far-reaching court decisions.

Weightless Tips

In late February, the Centrum district committee sent a unanimously adopted recommendation to the city council, mayor and councillors. Its meaning is: ‘Rest! Take a good look at the usefulness and necessity of this plan.

The council committee let it go and the board of b. and W. ironheim has presented the new urban plan. The advice seems to have no weight, because this week the city council decided not to adopt it.

There was support from the opposition, but the three parties in the coalition have no doubts. However, they did state in a motion that participation in the zoning plan must be properly advertised and the result of participation must be seriously involved in the plans. is that profit? That’s how it sounds, isn’t it?

GroenLinks, PvdA and D66 adhere to important principles such as democratic decision-making, clear balancing of interests and the protection of nature. Except sometimes. But if the councilors of these parties want it, it is still possible. They have all the information.

They just have to straighten their backs, stretch out weak knees, and take responsibility. It is for politicians to determine at this stage, after careful consideration, whether this is really what we should want here.

Bart Uitdenbogaart (president of the Islands Consultation) and Petra Catz (president of the Neighborhood Organization 1018)