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The fasten of the details By Jody Vergeel & Luca Salas Gerrit Rietveld Academie Spring 2009 History Teacher: Dorine van Hoogstraten

When I was Six years old. I saw a picture of an urban plan by Berlage (plan south Amsterdam) . It looked like a beetle eating a whole plant from the tree of Amsterdam. The beetle next bite was going to be the Harlememeer station, at the upper left of the Olympic stadium in the picture. I was so intrigued to know the flavor of the plant that I went to investigate the area where the beetle was going to do his next bite (Harlememeer station area).

When I found my self next to the head of the beetle known as the Olympic stadium, I asked for direction to a person name bob, I remember him as the man from the green building. He told me to just follow the tracks. As I was steel in the head of the beetle I had to ask him if he already expected a kind of flavor from his next bite. This is how he answer:

He took a littel booklet out of one of his pockets on his back. He started reading and showing me pictures of the area -In 1981 at the Amstelveenseweg. Very peaceful. The building on the photo is the penitentary of Amsterdam. In 1913 the train station Haarlemmermeerstation was built by the architect H. van Emmerik. A student of the famous architect K. de Bazel. The name of the trainstation was until 1930 Willemspark. 1915 the station came in use as trainstation.

1923 the backsite of Haarlemmermeer station.


1954 a roundabout is added in from of Haarlemmermeerstation.

1967 Behind Haarlemmermeerstation. There is no longer any form of public transport at the area. The area is only used for supplying the buildingsite of the Schiphol train track, and some supplying of coles for the city of Amsterdam. Photo’s taken by Arsath Ro’is.

1969 more buildings are built on the station site. Mostly used by people who need a space for their firm. Photo’s taken by Arsath Ro’is.

1975 The train tracks are used by EMA (electrische museumtramlijn Amsterdam) in 1972 The train traffic is stopped. The station and the area around have no transportfunction anymore. Only the buildings which are hired keep the area alive. Photo’s taken by Arsath Ro’is.

1981 At the backside where used to be a platform, the space is used as an parkinglot. Photo’s taken by Ino Roel

1999 Haarlemmermeerstation has become location for the trammuseum and an cafe. Also the parkinglot has changed into some green. Out of the station building is the area bihind not visible anymore. Photo’s taken by Ton van Rijn. Source Beeldbank Amsterdam.

Haarlemmermeerstation area.

-This area is a very different area in the neighbourhood Oud-Zuid. Is it also part of the famous urban plan of Berlage? I ask the bettle. It sounds logical and acceptable to say that is was Berlage. If you design an urbanplan you surely need a form of public transport and transport for supplies. The location of Haarlemmermeerstation area is on the west-side of plan zuid. And looking at the position of this station, it is also understandeble that there could be designed a station in his urbanplan.

-Why should Berlage plan two stations in his urbanplan? I sayd still with doubt Station Zuid is if you look at the plan better reachable. The roads out of station Zuid form a trition and every point of this triton is going to a part of plan Zuid. Station Zuid is located at the middle south part of his plan. The triton structure divide the middle part area of plan zuid in tree pieces. Out of the triton are new roads constructed to connect the whole area with eachother. The infrastructure doesn’t connect Haarlemmermeer station that well with plan Zuid. At an closer look the Haarlemmermeerstation is something aside of plan Zuid. The plan of Berlag in its final state was in 1917. The Haarlemmermeerstation was built an some years before (1913) Berlage finishing his plan.. It was a plan of HESM (Hollansche Electrische Spoorweg Maatschappij) that was busy with creating the Haarlemmermeer train track. Which was realised between 1912-1918. The name of Haarlemmermeer station was until 1933 station Willemspark. The design and built this station was done by H. van Emmerik. He was a student of K.C.P. de Bazel. This explains why some people think that this building was a piece of de Bazel. 1

left 1913 Right 1980

Haarlemmermeerstation that was built as an front of the area and as representable front for the HESM. Haarlemmermeer station was a begin and ending point of the line that connected the Haarlemmermeerpolder with Amsterdam. From the front side you can not see what is behind. From 1915 it where traintracks and some buildings for maintanence and storage. The back changed a lot because of the shifting of functions of this area.


Gemeente Amsterdam. Aan een waterplein of aan een rotonde. J. van der Werf. Oktober 2007

Timeline 1915-1950 public and supply transport, storage and small compagnies in coles 1950-1972 only supply transport, storage and some small compagnies with different proffesions. 1975 EMA (Electrische Museumtram Amsterdam) starts using the traintracks. 1990 Haarlemmermeer station area is owned by the city of Amsterdam.2


Roesplek. Jaargang 11 nr 12. Van roestplek tot plofplek. Janneke Donkerlo. 2005.

after talking for an hour with the beetle I started folowing the tracks

Just follow the tracks. While entering Haarlemmermeerstation from the south side, the first thing you see area lot of old cheaply build barns and a train track. The barns are aside of the train track. The train track is also the road where cars and bikers pass the area. I don’t know if the track is still in use or not. But out of curiousity I step on the track and start following it. The track is leading me behind barn, to barn and finally to a strange climax. At the end of this rosty place is an redbricked begin 20 th century building. It looks like a platform where I’m entering as a human train. It is the Haarlemmermeer station building. It’s used by a tram museum and a cafe. The platform is at the same time a terrace of the cafe. You’re not looking at the nice train track that leaded me to this place. You see some artifical nature, platforms for trams and a strage treehouse. This treehouse is the controlling space of the EMA. There a tram conductor makes sure that a tram ride is safe. Originally this building was a part of Amsterdam central station. The NS had no use anymore for the building and gave it as a present to EMA. Since 1980 it is standing next to Haarlemmermeerstation. By the people who live and work in the surrounding the building is also called “de duiventil”. In winter it is freezing in there and when it is summer it is an suana.3 Looking at the way it is built, it has something of the “nieuwe zakelijkheid”. Because of its transparency, use of material and how the windows are orderd. The style of this building makes it a strager in this area.


Roestplek. Jaargang 11 nr 12. Berichten uit het seinhuis. Janneke Donkerlo. 2005.

Back to the begin where we started. The first barn you see is a big green one. Made out of metal plates. And with a text on the facade “leer te leven met dit groen, ik werk hier voor mijn poen”. Which means try to live with the green coloured building, I’m in here working to make a living”. This asks for an explanation from the one who works in there. Through a open door I enter this green building. In there is a nice collection of old cars. Somewhere inbetween the cars is Bob busy with a car. He is not working here, just looking after the cat. As an extra thing he can work on some cars. But it isn’t his work. When we ask about the text on the facade a whole story comes out of this sentence. It’s abou what is happening around the Olympic stadion. Where once were sportfield are now very expensive appartments. When this appartments were sold a free sight was promised, but that wasn’t the case. So some buildings had to dissapear. Including the on were Bob is looking after the cat. the city of Amsterdam solved this problem by sending dissapearingcontracts. That means that after a certain amount of time the people who rented it had to go. By mistake tthe munisapality of Amsterdam sended the wrong contract to the owner of the green barn. The contract said that he could stay. When I ask Bob for the shortest way for where we are to Haarlemmermeerstation he said “ Just follow the tracks”. In this simple sentence Bob tells exactly where the area is about.4


Interview with Bob. 4-3-2009.

I followed the advice of Bob and started following the tracks. The tracks are the first layer in this area and after that follows the rest. The space inbetween the tracks is filled with buildings. Efficiently fitting inbetween the track. The tracks makes a nice pattern that devides the area. Normally is this deviding the task of an road were people ride with their cars. This is not an area where people have their homes. People work here and go home to eat and sleep, coming back again in the morning. Actually this is an cause of what this area used to be. A transportation area and storage with some small compagnies which were also an cause of the activities of the trainstation. The space inbetween the tracks used to be platforms. This platforms became buildings and the track is the road in this area.

While walking on the track it feels like a nice walk in the forest. How is it possible to compare this area with a forest? It is so peaceful and quiet. The colours are all a bit brown and grey with some bright colours. Like a forest in fall. The buildings are the trees and the track is a path trough it. Trough the spaces between the building comes light and makes these spaces sacred. Some are open but to small to enter and some became a part of the building. This creats an strange building where a door is not only covering the entrance but also a part of the facade. The people who made this did this not out of an intension to make it look nice. They did it just for functional reasons. All together it is talking about what it was. Small details are telling the story. The story of a desolate area in the middle of Amsterdam. Totally forgotten by some and about to be eaten by the bettle.

As I was walking back to the head of the beetle I meet a women in grey. It was a beautiful woman with a grey dress and no arms. She was living in a red container a side of Bob green building. - Are you lost ? She ask me -Not exactly, I am heading back to the head of the beetle. -You know the beetle? She sounded scare -Yeas he is quit a beetle, he knows a lot of history. I answer -Yeas he is a detail of the world made and use by the humans, he knows and has a lot of history. But all of us know a lot of history the only thing is that he is bigger than us. -Us who, bob and you? -Yeas and the other small details from this area. -You are saying that there are more people in this area. -Not more people, more details, and each one of us has a story to tell. -I thought this was a desolated place with only one history, the one that the beetle wants to eat. -Yea well it can be seen as one history as the way you are looking at the beetle, but even the beetle is made by different details. If you look at the whole area it looks like a medusa with all its tracks and the station as its head. -Oh, I thought it looked as a forest. -Well it feels like a forest more than looking like one but you are free to interpreted us as you want. -That is not completely true. Said some one from far away. -Who is that?. I ask the grey women

-He is the fish from the blue building. -Yeas I am the fish of the blue building and if you don’t see me is because I am not always swimming on your eye level. But I am always going to be a fish. -He is stubborn, he thinks he is a symbol and will never change of mind. Said the women in grey -Yeas he is stubborn. An other detail far away said. -Who is he? -He is a face of the face building, he has a tween brother that is always hiding behind a blue metal wall. Hey guys, this person here knows the beetle! -The beetle doesn’t scare me said the fish from the blue building -To us either, said the tween brothers. -But then why are you hiding from? I ask the tween brother face that was hiding behind the blue wall. -I am not hiding, this is how I was made. I am strong and flexible as this metal laminas. I am a detail who stands for its construction. The more I stayed in that place the more the details where coming out to be notice by me. In a moment I was surrounded by talking details every were and I was wandering why the beetle wanted to eat all of them.

After my walk trought harlememeerstation area I went back to the head of the beetle and said to him: -In my opinion is Haarlemmermeer station area a very beautiful place with a lot of history that is told by the place itself. It is a designed area. Designed by the use in time, designed out of a practical point of view. It’s really nice located and that can become the reason of the end of this area. I really hope that this area will survive during time. It’s important for the history of Amsterdam, for the particular kinds of companies that work there and for the people who love and enjoy this area every day. Not only the ones who work there but also the visitors of the Museum tram and the details that change day to day. The beetle answer me. -Haarlemmermeer station area is an remarkable place in the city of Amsterdam. Hidden and anonymous. An oasis of peace and quiet. In the city where almost everything is designed, is this place an individual place that grew on its own, and that is why I have to eat it. I feed my self of roads, and buildings and they all taste the same . But I know that in the harlememeer station area there are hidden taste hidden stories as details on the buildings. Is like eating a chocolate cake made with different types of chocolate. I am a detail eater. After the beetle telling me this I fell inside my mouth a taste of stories I wanted to tell. A taste of stories told by the surrounding details that I found in the harlememeer area. Without noticing it suddenly I was in a dark space with out light, I realize I had been eaten by the beetle.

By Jody Vergeel and Luca Salas


Gemeente Amsterdam. Aan een waterplein of aan een rotonde. J. van der Werf. Oktober 2007 Roesplek. Jaargang 11 nr 12. Van roestplek tot plofplek. Janneke Donkerlo. 2005. 3 Roestplek. Jaargang 11 nr 12. Berichten uit het seinhuis. Janneke Donkerlo. 2005. 4 Interview with Bob. 4-3-2009. 2

The fasten of the details

Festen of the details  

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