May 15, 2019

Amsterdam Central Station builds huge underwater bike stall

Filed under: Bicycles by Orangemaster @ 8:36 pm

According to Mark Wagenbuur, the Cycling Ambassador for the Dutch Cycling Embassy at Bicycle Dutch, Amsterdam is building an underground, underwater parking facility for 7,000 bicycles at Amsterdam Central Station.

Folks online were wondering if there was a way to follow the construction by way of a webcam, and lo and behold there is! The project is call De Entree (‘The Entrance’) and it’s really big and disruptive if you need to get around Central Station, but that’s life.

And according to Wikipedia, Amsterdam Central Station is the largest railway station of Amsterdam and is used by 162,000 passengers a day, making it the second busiest railway station in the country after Utrecht Central Station, which deals with 176,000 passengers a day. Amsterdam Central Station is the most visited national monument of the Netherlands and boast a royal waiting room you can finally see partially from the outside.

(Link: by Flickr user UggBoy hearts UggGirl, some rights reserved)

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October 29, 2018

Why people hate pianos at Dutch train stations

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 10:26 am

A few days ago, a picture of the piano at Amsterdam Central Station was doing the rounds on Instagram, as it was overturned. A friend of mine reposted an article about the unfortunate piano on Facebook, saying “My mood today”.

The man who did it will have to go to court, but having sat down after his ‘crime’, he waited for the police and didn’t seem to care. A new piano was put in its place rather quickly after the incident. The piano has had faeces, acid and other things poured onto it, so yeah, fresh piano it is.

The first reason people hate train station pianos is that listening to a piano is meant to attract attention and evoke emotions, which is for many people the complete opposite of what a train station is supposed to do, which is get people from A to B as easy as possible. In other words, the piano detracts from the goal of getting to their train without being distracted.

The second reason is the fake feeling of ‘life is hard, but doesn’t this small bit of happiness bring us all a little bit closer’, apparently a feeling that is just as irritating as giving out free hugs or anything else that forces people to feel woolly. It’s one thing to encourage togetherness, but it is another when it is done as part of Dutch Rail’s marketing strategy when all they do is up the prices of tickets every year and offer the exact same service year in year out.

Reason number three is that piano playing gives narcissists a stage. Nobody wants to wait around for some amateur noodling of whatever the favourite film ditty of the year is. Playing for people is something that shows empathy, but in fact is a totally narcissistic gesture, according to the people interviewed. At lease a street musician does it for money.

I happen to like public space pianos, but that’s usually because I don’t use the train to commute and have time to find my train and I tend to hear decent piano players, not parents letting their children muck about because they have to.

(Links: and; Photo of piano keyboard by Adam Henning, some rights reserved)

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July 20, 2017

Writing a book at Amsterdam Central Station

Filed under: Literature by Orangemaster @ 10:34 pm

From August 14 to 31, writer Luuk Imhann will make Amsterdam Centraal Station his new workplace, from 11:00 to 20:00 seven days a week. In an empty shop space, he’ll be writing his new book, ‘Loutering’ (‘Purification’) in front of everyone, and people are invited to drop by and have a chat with him about how it’s going and what he’s writing.

The second part of a trilogy and set to be published next year, the book takes place in Amsterdam and is a retelling of the myth of Odysseus (aka Ulysses) in one day in Amsterdam.

(Link:, Illustration: Benthem Crouwel Archtitects)

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February 29, 2016

Amsterdam Central Station’s shared space is successful

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 1:06 pm

First the media complained about how dangerous it looked, with opinions ranging from ‘completely bonkers’ and ‘sign this petition’, which have now turned into ‘yeah, but don’t be in a rush’ (video) and ‘hey, it actually works for 39,000 commuters a day’.

After a major redesign of the space behind Amsterdam Central Station, where the many ferries take commuters across the IJ river to Amsterdam-Noord, cyclists and pedestrians need to navigate a sea of each other in a no-traffic-rules-figure-it-out-among-yourselves zone. The idea is that a shared space avoids using traffic lights, and if it had been a total disaster full of accidents, the city would have changed it, but now the shared space is deemed successful.

People coming off ferries on bikes and scooters are definitely to be avoided as a pedestrian, then again, if I’m in their way, it’s up to them to go around me. I’ve actually been there on roller skates at night and that went well. According to Het Parool newspaper, in three months, there has been one ‘incident’ where a cyclist hit a scooter and got back on their bike and buzzed off. They say that cyclists are a bit less aggressive and more polite to pedestrians there as well, and all the naysayers, including us, although we kept it down the pub, have been proven wrong.

Have a look at this time-lapse video and see for yourselves:

Timelapse van de shared space bij Centraal Station from Gemeente Amsterdam on Vimeo.


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October 14, 2014

Stones adorning hotel could fall down at any time

Filed under: Architecture by Orangemaster @ 3:03 pm


Loose stones on the façade of the DoubleTree hotel in Amsterdam next to Central Station has been called a ‘life-threatening situation’ in a report obtained by newspaper Telegraaf this week. In fact the hotel director is suing project developer MAB who built the hotel three years ago for 140 million euro. The long story short is that the stones aren’t set properly and could very well fall and injure people – or worse.

For all of you in Amsterdam, I suggest not walking the busy route from the hotel to the city library (OBA). Sure, probably nothing will happen, but you don’t want to be the one who gets hit by a falling stone. At the time of writing this, the English-language press was still quiet about the news.

(Link:, Photo of DoubleTree Hotel Amsterdam by ptc24, some rights reserved.

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October 2, 2014

Dutch Rail sings to shafted train travellers

Filed under: Music,Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:18 pm

Why say sorry if you can sing it, make people smile and rip them off even more? That is exactly what Dutch Rail decided to do when they apparently hired jazz singer songwriter Baer Traa to pose (!) as fictitious train conductor Job van Gils.

Dutch Rail has been making a veritable fortune by not paying back any money owed to people who forgot to check out with their public transport chip card. Now subscriptions holders who forget their pass card and have had to pay a fine cannot ask for their money back either. Even the Dutch Rail employees are appalled and somehow somewhere Baer Traa dressed up as a train conductor got a gig telling people ‘sorry’, or in less polite and more accurate terms, how Dutch Rail is screwing them over easy.

Traa gives ‘peddling excuses’ a whole new meaning at Amsterdam Central Station in this video. He starts singing again at 1:08, as the beginning of the video was the end of one song. He actually tries to explain that Dutch Rail has a new policy that shafts more people than even before.

(Link:, Photo by Flickr user UggBoy hearts UggGirl, some rights reserved)

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September 10, 2012

Will Amsterdam Central Station be ‘kerned’ correctly?

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 9:18 pm

Amsterdam Central Station is getting a new bus terminus, and architects Benthem Crouwel have decided to adorn the terminus’ roof with the word ‘Amsterdam’ in giant red glass letters.

Famous Dutch graphic designer Piet Schreuders is worried that the letters may not be spaced correctly (kerned, as typographers call it), and watches the roofing process like a hawk, sharing his observations at

Today, in September 2012, the middle section of the roof is still missing, so all we can see is AM…RDAM. (The letters STE won’t be inserted until 2013, when construction of the underground North-South tram line at this location is expected to be finished.)

Being worrisome by nature, we typographers can’t help expressing some concerns: did the architects and roofers calculate everything exactly right? Will the missing letters fit into the remaining space? And did the roofers adhere to proper kerning specifications?

Fact: the word AMSTERDAM starts and ends with the letter combination AM. The first worrisome fact: the space between the first A and M is five windows … but between the second A and M—oh, horror—it is only four.

Earlier this month the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam presented its new logo which had too much space in it, right at a position that suggested a case of ‘English disease’, as the Dutch call it—the habit of putting spaces in compound words. That space caused a lot of buzz on the Internet—I doubt Benthem Crouwel’s typography will yield a similarly rich word of mouth.

(Illustration: Benthem Crouwel Archtitects)

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June 11, 2008

A white affair at future Amsterdam Central Station

Filed under: Design,General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:22 am

Maybe the small man or boy on the right is not white, but Arnoud de Jong of the Amsterdam Central Station website doubts it. Apparently, once the station will be renovated, it will be populated by white yuppies.

De Jong took a look at the municipal website and found that the ‘artist impressions’ did not provide a single identifiable person of foreign origin. No Muslims, no one even remotely religious looking or multicultural, while one in every three residents of Amsterdam fits the ‘non-Western foreigner’ bill. Maybe they’ll be riding donkeys.

And then there’s the women, as one woman pointed out in the comments. Young, thin and long-haired. The one in the foreground was probably taken from some catwalk. Not a single one of them is dressed for work, while the men are in suits. This has to have been the ‘work’ of a heterosexual white man.

If this is what Central Station plans to look like, I will continue to use the modest yet modern satellite station Sloterdijk where real people take the train.

(Link and Illustration:

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