Due to accomodate the city’s growing population and increasing number of tourists, the Central Station has been under construction for about 20 years now. At its rear, the side of the water ‘t IJ, a pedestrian passageway is created, sandwiched between the elevated bus platform and the road underneath. This passageway gives access to the soon to be opened North-South metro line and is a passage-through from the City Center to the ferries departing to the North side of Amsterdam. Thus, Amsterdam’s Central Station is a confluence point for many taxis, busses, cyclists and pedestrians.


Since the pedestrian passageway is relatively low, the ceiling is adorned with mirroring elements. These are placed in a bespoke pattern, creating space for installation components in between the elements onto the black acoustic surface in the shadow of the mirroring elements. Due to the mirroring effect, the space appears to be endlessly continuous. The elements also remind us of splashes of water from the adjacent water of ‘t IJ and reflect the light outside – making the initially dark transfer hall a source of light.


The enormous structural glazed facades give view to and from the shops and restaurants that align both sides of the transfer hall. The signage of the retail units, lit from behind, is integrated into the glazed panels and placed within set limits within the grey band of the facade. The voids that connect the elevated bus platform with the passageway on the ground floor are decorated with hanging ivy and periwinkle gardens, introducing a diagonal and dynamic view from the transfer hall to the bus platform outside, as such guiding the travelers and acting as a direction-giver.


The huge light brown terrazzo floor stresses the enormous space of the transfer hall. Connections have been minimized and limited only to places where they are necessity by regulation, amplifying the endless effect of the space. The color of the terrazzo is reflected in the ceiling, giving the whole space a soft tone.


The IJhal guides direct visual connections to the waterfront from a series of secondary passageways perpendicular to the IJhal which cross the tracks underneath. Transparency and reflection in the IJhal give surreal and super-real experiences that connect the North side of Amsterdam to the city’s center.



Location : Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Client : NS Poort Ontwikkeling BV
Program : Transportation, Retail, Office

Area : 11.600 m2

Status : Completed in 2016

Project team: Wiel Arets, Bettina Kraus, Freyke Hartemink, Raymond van Sabben, Joris van den Hoogen

Consultants : Deerns Raadgevende Ingenieurs BV, Ingenieursbureau Movares


Freyke Hartemink contributed to this project as project leader and project architect at WAA. She controlled the process from Preliminary Design until Project Delivery dealing with the finances of the project, the construction and completion, the communication with the contractors and the client and controlling the infill of the retail-units.