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New Amsterdam Bike Slam

Taking a note from the message Amsterdam is pedalling, New York looks to reinvent itself as a bicycle-friendly city, beginning with the New Amsterdam Bike Slam, over 10-13 September, as part of the Amsterdam/New York celebrations of NY400. The slam is a competition, showcasing the talents of Dutch/American city planners and designers pitting two teams against each other to create lower Manhattan and New York Harbour District that is bicycle-friendly.


New York cycle-couriers are a crazy breed, pedalling through dangerously heavy traffic that isn’t looking out for them, taking shortcuts that cars can’t and when a gridlock forms those pesky cyclists just ride on through…  Ever stop to think that maybe they were on to something. Imagine a New York where cyclists outnumbered cars, traffic ran smoothly and thanks to pedal-power, emissions were far less.

New Amsterdam, New Amsterdam

As part of the NY400 celebrations between Amsterdam and New York, the New Amsterdam Bike Slam, inspired by poetry slams, hip hop battles, reality TV and good ol’ fashion know-how pits two teams comprising of both Dutch and American planners and designers in a competition to redesign New York City’s transportation woes.

Brains travel on bikes

After three days of intensive planning and preparation, on Saturday 12 September, the two higly skilled teams went head-to-head in a battle royale that comprised urban planning, marketing, design and social & eco-awareness. Live on stage as part debate, part performance, in front of a panel of judges they pedalled their plan for a compelling new vision to increase bicycling in lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor District.

The team with the most practical and innovative plan to send New York down the right path as a bike-friendly city was rightfully rewarded by Mr Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam with the winning team scoring free Dutch bicycles courtesy of Workcycles.

For more information on the slam, visit New Amsterdam Bike Slam

Developments in public transport

Anyone visiting Amsterdam for the first time will be amazed by the many building sites in the city centre. But things are not as drastic as they may seem, because in actual fact, the work involves only one, very large building site. The construction of the new Noord/Zuidlijn (North/South metro line), which will improve transport links between the north and south of Amsterdam, means that large parts of the city centre are less readily accessible. The digging work was started in several places at the same time, so that things would proceed more quickly.

The metro

Amsterdam’s metro network is recent. The first metro lines were only laid in 1977. Most of those lines led to residential areas outside the centre, so there remained a need for a metro line that would pass under the city centre. That was a problem, because Amsterdam was built on swampy ground. Every building in the city centre is supported by wooden posts driven deep into the ground. A metro network would have to be tunnelled under those posts. That was - initially – considered technically and financially unfeasible.

The Noord/Zuidlijn

In the end, the decision was taken to construct the Noord/Zuidlijn – a metro line running from the northern part of Amsterdam under the river IJ to Central Station. From there it will continue to Dam square, and then via Rokin on to Station Zuid/WTC. The actual construction work began in 2003. It was expected that the 9.2km-long line would be completed by 2011. That proved to be unfeasible. The next date quoted was 2013, but that has meanwhile been postponed, too. It is now hoped that everything will be finished by 2015.

Further plans

More building work is scheduled up to 2020. One plan is for the Noord/Zuidlijn to continue from Station Zuid/WTC to Schiphol airport. Another involves a link between Central Station and Isolatorweg (the terminal of line 50). This would result in a ring line around the city. Another aim is to finally reorganise the metro network. At present, three of the four metro lines depart from Central Station, with the primary disadvantage that delays on one metro line have consequences for the other subsequent lines. This problem could be solved by reorganising the network so that the metro lines depart from different stations.



I Amsterdam

City Region of Amsterdam



Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum