Friday, April 29, 2011

Amsterdam Centraal Station

colored photo from the 1890s

One of the great railway stations of Europe, completed in 1889, Amsterdam Centraal Station or CS occupies a central place in Amsterdam as the name suggests. It is situated on three artificial islands, which rest on 8,687 wooden piles driven deep into the mud and sand.

The current location of the station is not the site the city of Amsterdam had originally hoped for; other possibilities included somewhere near the Leidseplein, the Weesperplein, or in the vicinity of the modern-day Sarphatipark. Officials in Den Haag, however, felt that the eventual location at the head of the city was the best location. This was highly controversial as it effectively cut off Amsterdam from its own waterfront, making it, for all purposes, an inland city.  Nevertheless, the building of the Central Station in front of the open harbour was forced through by the railway department of the Ministry of Transport and the Interior Secretary, Thorbecke. The plan made its way through the Amsterdam municipal council by a narrow majority.

It is now used by about 250,000 passengers daily.

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