Simon Wijrdeman

Simon Wijrdeman


Paleis voor Volksvlijt in het digitale tijdperk

Paleis voor Volksvlijt in the digital age

In the heart of the capital, at a spot with a rich history, a traditional bank with a literally closed structure will be transformed into the Paleis voor Volksvlijt in the digital age. The Paleis voor Volksvlijt, which served as the illustrious centre of innovation in the 19th century and was destroyed by fire almost 100 years ago, will rise again. More than 150 years later, there is a technological revolution of unprecedented scale once again, which is changing, and is still to change, our lives radically in many areas. It is not yet totally clear how that will occur, but it is certain that flexibility and resilience will help us to make use of these developments in the correct manner.

With the new Paleis voor Volksvlijt, there will be room for these new developments and for the human as social creature. The new palace embraces the present, but also references the past with the grandeur, accessibility and functionality of the Paleis voor Volksvlijt of yesteryear.

The beauty and logic of Duintjers’ design for De Nederlandsche Bank (which replaced the burnt-down Palace) will be preserved, but it will now be opened to urban residents. It will add a variety of functions and opportunities with regard to work, urban life and digitalisation to the city. The ‘Ring van Duintjer’ (Ring of Duintjer) will become a unique spot for urbane society in a city where the boundaries are being pushed in the new digital world. With catering establishments, co-working spaces, sports facilities, a library, an auditorium, exhibition and craftwork spaces, the ring will offer a unique spot for education, work, social interaction and leisure activities.

The ring will embrace two new towers that symbolise the changing society. The round tower will house a data centre, thus making a physical connection between the user and machine. At present, data centres are often still unknown quantities in the city. They are located on the outskirts, or we do not even know where they are located, while they play a prominent role in our digital world. From the round data tower, aerial walkways offer access to the square tower with office space. The towers are modular and can be flexibly adapted to the wishes of the users. The modularity, the recycling of residual heat from the data centre, the energy-generating facades and the greening of the location will play a role in making the building and its surroundings more sustainable.

With the wide range of functions and users, this new Palace offers space to individuals, groups and companies who will all find their way on the square, in the ring, the towers and the cellar in their own unique way. This space in, under and around the building will once again become part of the city of Amsterdam and contribute to a rich urban life all year round.


Graduation committee: Floris Alkemade, Hanneke Kijne and Uri Gilad. Additional members for the exam: Jarrik Ouburg and Judith Korpershoek.

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