Banning of oil companies

After the local authorities took the decision to ban the storage of oil in the city at the end of the nineteenth century, oil companies such as De Dordtsche whose business was the ‘Exploration and Exploitation of Petroleum Sources’ had to leave for the other side of the IJ River. They were allocated land on the site of the former gallows. When Shell took over De Dordtsche in 1911, it built the oil company’s laboratory in this area. Shell carried out research into the production of petrol from raw oil. Shell still carries out important research in the Shell Technology Centre Amsterdam.

 

Construction Overhoekstoren (Overhoeks Tower), 1970

Toren Overhoeks (Overhoeks Tower)

Given the limited space, the architect Arthur Staal designed the Toren Overhoeks vertically. As the word overhoeks means ‘diagonally’, he turned the office block 45 degrees in relation to the IJ River and the existing buildings. The building’s foundations needed 400 beams of 17.25 metres long. At the time that it was erected, Toren Overhoeks, at 80m, was the highest building in Amsterdam.

 

Overhoeks (aerial photo), 2008

Life on the water

The IJ River lies at the heart of the area’s current developments. Renowned architects designed the residential areas that are named after historic ships, such as the ‘Zeven Provinciën’ (the Seven Provinces) and ‘De Europa’ (Europe). Everything is built so that as many residents and users as possible can see the IJ. Along with the Toren Overhoeks, Amsterdam North will have another icon in 2011: the new premises of the EYE Film Institute the Netherlands in the Oeverpark (previously the Film Museum in the Vondelpark).

 

Modern construction, 2008