The bicycle flat at Central Station (2001-2023) was beautiful in its ugliness
The time has come: the bicycle flat at Central Station is closed. Owners can pick up their bicycle until February 24. Compensation for the rusty danger that housed bicycles for more than twenty years.
Times change and bicycle parking facilities change with them. The bicycle flat at CS, according to some perhaps the ugliest that Amsterdam has to offer, is closed. Cyclists can now go at a distance in the brand new bicycle shed under the water of the Open Harbor Front. Owners have until February 24 to collect their bicycle, but the bicycle flat will be closed from now on.
It’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true: the bicycle flat is beautiful in ugliness. Concrete, rusted steel and heel, in the back many old barrels of bicycles. Already in 2001, at the opening, there were Amsterdammers who lacquered this emergency solution for the bicycle parking problem because of the design. Tradition, it was said. And: an insult to Amsterdam, so prominently present at what for many visitors is the entrance to the city.
And yet the people of Amsterdam also seem to have learned to love the bicycle flat. Or perhaps better: as a solution to a problem, the building was increasingly valued. That is to say, look like a cause from the eighties, more and more in favor of the bicycle flat to go to work.
The fact that it became one of the most photographed objects among tourists contributed to the international allure that the bicycle flat acquired. Foreign camera crews putting items together about Amsterdam Cycling City, their reports about the rusty thing started on the destroyed side of the Central Station.
Extra steep slopes
The history of the bicycle flat can be read as a history of thinking about stationary bicycles. When Frank Köhler, who was responsible for traffic and transport as alderman in the interim, there was a danger that there was a temporary solution, but at the same time there was open talk about creating more and more bicycle racks on and around the Stationsplein.
The bicycle flat must above all be practical: the assignment was for the slopes to ensure that people would not hang around for long. But above all: temporary. Former alderman Köhler: “The bicycle flat would remain for five years. But later that got longer and longer, zoning plans were adjusted to make sure the thing couldn’t be moved. The places were just needed.”
Everything had to be on the street and in case there was not enough space on the street, bicycle flats were obliged to offer. Initially, the idea was that one would also arise on the partial side of the station. The Fietsersbond suggested that in 2016, just six years ago on every corner of CS, and on the other side on the Buiksloterweg, a bicycle flat should come.
Flag on a mud barge
In the meantime, people think differently about the storage of bicycles. Given the physical bustle on the street, the bicycle surface must. And so next month a parking facility will open behind the station, here for another 4000 bicycles. In 2029, the interim tracks of CS will also be dug into a huge bicycle shed.
As with the bicycle flat it will never be again, I also want: times to change. A reader of The parole argued Monday the Amsterdam bicycle‘ It would be much better to be a passenger at the bicycle flat than at that brand new, modern bicycle garage under the Open Havenfront and there is not much to object to that. At the same time, it is a rather nostalgic perspective: look at the street and see how the Amsterdam bicycle is steadily dying out.
Amsterdam is screwed up, they say, and you would see that happen under the Open Havenfront. Even in Amsterdam, steeds are driving around less barrels. While the electric bicycle has just come into use and bicycles are also regularly becoming Insta-worthy status objects. On average, the Dutch consumer spends much more on his bicycle than twenty years ago. So you can also say that every bicycle shed deserves it: all those luxury carts on such an ugly bicycle colossus then form flags on a mud barge.
Not the end
By the way, the bicycle flat will not come to an end yet: it will remain where it is, only cyclists are no longer welcome there. The municipality made sure that the need could become high in 2024, that the racks will be needed again. Until then, the flat will most likely not be empty, a statement says. “We’ll see if we can come up with something nice for it.”