The North South line, (or Noord-Zuid Lijn in Dutch) is something that is very familiar to most Amsterdam residents. It is a metro line which will run from Amsterdam Noord, to Amsterdam Zuid stopping at nine stations in total, including Central station, Vijzelgracht and the Pijp, with room for expansion from Zuid. It will cut travel time from North to South dramatically, taking only 16 minutes to get from one end to the other.
Originally dubbed the East line when it was started in the 70s, it caused a great deal of controversy because in order to do the work they needed to demolish people’s houses. This led to major protests, which meant the complete abandonment of the scheme until 2002. By this point they had made plans to bore tunnels under Amsterdam, which meant there would be no need to demolish any houses, and construction finally started again in 2003.
Set to open in 2017, it’s original budget of €1.4 billion was increased to €3.1 billion in 2008 when two houses on the Vijzelgracht subsided due to a leakage in the Noord-Zuid Lijn. Since then, there have been measures put in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen again with mirrors on houses, and measuring equipment which checks the position of the houses every day and there have been no problems since.
I got the opportunity to go to the 24 feet under, into the tunnel near Central station to see how construction was going.
All suited and booted ready to go down into the tunnels.
The building site near Central Station
The way in to the tunnel. It doesn’t look so bad!
Then we had to get down all of these stairs.
The tunnel was so beautiful. It’s hard to believe how different it will look once it’s a metro station.
This is one of the emergency exits, placed in the tunnel every 200 metres or so.
And finally, me in the tunnel.
The really great news is that you can go and see some of the construction work for yourselves on the 1st June 2013. The Noord-Zuidlijn is holding an open day with the theme ‘Dive into the North-South line’ The tunnel walk under the Ij is already fully booked, but they have also opened the Vijzelgracht and the Pijp for visitors interested in going to have a look. Both stations will be open from 10am-4pm, and registration for these are not necessary. Entry is free.
At the Vijzelgracht station you will be able to see the station, and the tunnel connections which were built by the drills affectionately named as Molly and Victoria. At the Pijp, you will be able to see the tube station, which is right under the Ferdinand Bolstraat. Because it was so narrow, they had to dig 30 feet deep to get the tunnels in. This is not for anyone with a fear of heights!
If you can’t make it on Saturday, there is a lookout point on the Rokin, which is open Tuesday to Sunday between the hours of 1pm and 6pm. On June 1st and 2nd only, the opening hours are from 9am to 5pm.
The information centre is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am until 5pm, and on Sunday it is open from 10am-4pm. It is located just a short walk from Central station at Stationsplein 7, and has lots of information about the Noord-Zuidlijn, and a small selection of the 700,000 archaeological finds are on display there, which they found on the beds of the river Amstel. On the 1st and 2nd June it will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 9am until 5pm.
For more information about the Noord-Zuidlijn, go to their website.
A huge thankyou to Amsterdam Marketing for making this trip into the tunnel possible.
What do you think about the Noord-Zuidlijn?