The construction of the new Noord/Zuidlijn (North/South metro line), which will improve transport links between the north and south of Amsterdam, means that large parts of the city centre are less readily accessible. The digging work was started in several places at the same time, so that things would proceed more quickly.
The Amsterdam metro system
Amsterdam’s metro network is recent. The first metro lines were only laid in 1977. Most of those lines led to residential areas outside the centre, so there remained a need for a metro line that would pass under the city centre. That was a problem, because Amsterdam was built on swampy ground. Every building in the city centre is supported by wooden posts driven deep into the ground. A metro network would have to be tunnelled under those posts. That was - initially – considered technically and financially unfeasible.
In the end, the decision was taken to construct the Noord/Zuidlijn – a metro line running from the northern part of Amsterdam under the river IJ to Central Station. From there it will continue to Dam square, and then via Rokin on to Station Zuid/WTC. The actual construction work began in 2003. It was expected that the 9.2km-long line would be completed by 2011. That proved to be unfeasible. The next date quoted was 2013, but that has meanwhile been postponed, too. It is now hoped that everything will be finished by 2015.
More building work is scheduled up to 2020. One plan is for the Noord/Zuidlijn to continue from Station Zuid/WTC to Schiphol airport. Another involves a link between Central Station and Isolatorweg (the terminus of line 50). This would result in a ring line around the city. Another aim is to finally reorganise the metro network. At present, three of the four metro lines depart from Central Station, with the primary disadvantage that delays on one metro line have consequences for the other subsequent lines. This problem could be solved by reorganising the network so that the metro lines depart from different stations.