Housing in North Holland
Trip Start Apr 28, 2007
14Trip End Jun 01, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
This morning we headed first to the centre of Zaandam to the information centre of Gemeente Zaanstad (the local government for Zaanstad). Zaandam is an industrial hub and the town area is unlike other picturesque towns we have visited so far. It is a modern concrete urban area needing much regeneration. We were shown the new developments proposed for the city, including a new town hall, homes and apartments, shopping, an entertainment precinct, and others. The project is proposed for completion in five years time. On the surface it seems ambitious but we will see.
Following the urban Zaandam, we headed out to a new development area in Saendelft. This was a Dutch equivalent of Sanctuary Lakes, but with much higher density living and less open space. The landscaping around the new development was minimal and mostly concrete and brick. The styles of buildings were also much the same. From what we have seen so far, Holland is very protective of its green space, particularly that of its farming communities. Even though Zaandam is only 15 minutes from Amsterdam, there is much farm land that surrounds it. The Dutch seem loath to invade this space, even for lower density living. It highlights how little land they feel they have.
In the afternoon, we visited an ecological living project with Ruud Joling, the father-in-law of our organiser Gosse. This involved a group of people who 10 years ago wanted to develop homes that were ecological in everything they did. It hasn't kicked on right across the Netherlands but was an interesting point of difference. Plants grew freely (mowing is only twice a year) and the houses were constructed from ecologically-friendly materials.
The evening involved a great home-cooked meal by Evelien Adsera de Boer Joling, one of the culinary highlights of our trip. Thanks Evelien!!