This past weekend on a day trip to Amsterdam I decided to explore Java Eiland, one of four man-made islands that make up the capital’s Eastern Docklands. This former harbour, once an important area for trade and passenger traffic, fell into disuse during the mid-60’s before eventually undergoing a dramatic urban redevelopment. The area, which also provided a solution to Amsterdam’s housing shortage, was targeted for high-density, low rise housing and displays an astonishing variation of housing and architectural styles with each island having been appointed an independent designer.
The master plan for Java Eiland was designed by Amsterdam architect Sjoerd Soeters. Four canals divide the island and are connected by ornamental black iron bridges designed by different architects. Modern canal houses of varying heights represent both a contrast and tribute to the historic centre of Amsterdam and are characterised by their quirky and unique façades.
Tours of Java Eiland and the Eastern Docklands are organized by architecturetours.nl.