View from Gooioord in Bijlmer
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|Metro lines||50, 53, 54|
The Bijlmermeer ([ˈbɛi̯lmərˌmeːr]) or colloquially Bijlmer [ˈbɛilmər] is one of the neighbourhoods that form the Amsterdam Zuidoost ('Amsterdam South-East') borough (or "stadsdeel") of Amsterdam, Netherlands. To many people, the Bijlmer designation is used to refer to Amsterdam Zuidoost and Diemen Zuid as a pars pro toto. The other neighbourhoods in Amsterdam Zuidoost are Gaasperdam, Bullewijk, Venserpolder and Driemond.
The Bijlmermeer neighbourhood, which today houses almost 100,000 people of over 150 nationalities, was designed as a single project. The original neighbourhood was designed as a series of nearly identical high-rise buildings laid out in a hexagonal grid. The apartments were meant to attract a suburban set, rather like condominium housing. The buildings have several features that distinguish them from traditional Dutch high-rise flats, such as tubular walkways connecting the flats and garages. The blocks are separated by large green areas planted with grass and trees. Each flat has its own garages where cars can be parked.
The Bijlmer was designed with two levels of traffic. Cars drive on the top level, the decks of which fly over the lower level's pedestrian avenues and bicycle paths. This separation of fast and slow moving traffic is beneficial to traffic safety. However, in recent years, the roads are once again being flattened, so pedestrians, cycles and cars travel alongside each other. This is a move to lessen the effects of the 'inhuman' scale of some of the Bijlmer's designs. It is felt a direct line of sight will also improve safety from muggers.
Because of the Bijlmer's peripheral position relative to the city centre, it was decided a metro line was to be built towards the Bijlmer. The Oostlijn (east line, actually two lines later numbered 53 and 54) links the Bijlmer to the Central Station of Amsterdam, while the Ringlijn links it with the port area at Sloterdijk.
Bijlmermeer in trouble
Bijlmermeer was built for success, but until recently it struggled to attract many middle-class families. Reasons for this can be found in numerous areas. First, following Suriname's independence in 1975, many of its inhabitants migrated to the Netherlands. The government placed these immigrants in affordable social housing in the Bijlmermeer.
The neighbourhood quickly gained a reputation for being a "black" part of town. The relatively low incomes and social status of its inhabitants made for a problematic mix with the area's large scale buildings, which afforded little social control. It used to have a relatively high crime rate, but this has decreased dramatically in recent years; the number of registered complaints to the police decreased from 20,000 in 1995 (2,000 of which were robberies) to 8,000 (600 robberies) in 2005. The latter figure may be underreported due to the presence of illegal immigrants who are afraid to report crimes to the police.
As people came and went, cheap social housing remained a central fixture of the area, attracting more immigrants. As a result, the Bijlmer lost its desirability to conservative middle-class families. The Bijlmer has always been host to many different ethnicities simultaneously. Throughout the years, claims of rising social segregation or ghettoization have been both denied, and pre-empted by local government. Due to its relative low cost housing, it has also been an attractive place to settle for avant garde artists and other city escapees.
After El Al Flight 1862 crashed into two Bijlmermeer buildings in 1992—an incident known as the Bijlmerramp, the Dutch word for "Bijlmer Disaster"—it was decided that the neighbourhood needed some further change. In recent years, many of the high rise buildings are being renovated or torn down. More expensive low-rise housing is being built, to attract more middle- and high-income residents. This resulted in significant reduction in crime and more balanced socio-economic composition, whilst at the same time maintaining the area's ethnic mix.
Events and sights
Amsterdam Zuidoost is host to Ajax Amsterdam's ArenA football stadium, which hosts football matches and musical concerts, the Pathé ArenA multiplex cinema with 14 screens, the Heineken Music Hall and music and theatres, located in the business park area of Amsterdam Zuidoost, just to the west of the Bijlmer. The recreational strip is called the ArenA Boulevard. The strip mostly hosts concerts, with a very small number of bars and no night clubs. It has not been able to compete with Amsterdam's city centre for the casual Saturday night crowd.
The Bijlmer boasts Amsterdam's biggest shopping centre, the "Amsterdamse Poort", though Amsterdam's city centre remains the largest shopping area. Alongside the shopping centre, the "Anton de Kom plein" (square) is completed, it houses a cultural centre and the borough administrative offices ("stadsdeelkantoor").
The 74,000 square metres (800,000 sq ft) mixed-use GETZ Entertainment Centre is planned to open on the ArenA Boulevard, including retail, catering industry, leisure, several types of entertainment, a hotel and a culture cluster.
The annual Kwakoe Festival is a six-weekend long, free, multicultural festival during the summer, with Surinamese, Antillean and African food, music and other events.
- Ryan Babel, footballer
- Kevin Bobson, footballer
- Mitchell Donald, footballer
- Steve van Dorpel, footballer
- Akwasi Frimpong, sprinter
- Cerezo Fung-a-Wing, footballer
- Ortwin Linger, footballer
- Javier Martina, footballer
- Tyrone Spong, kickboxer
- Gilbert Yvel, mixed martial artist
Footnotes and references
- Schenk, Weert in De Volkskrant, 5 January 2006, Het tij is gekeerd
Er ontstond een multiculturele Bijlmer met meer dan 130 nationaliteiten. Door hoge werkloosheid onder de bevolking en overbewoning van de flats verloederde de buurt snel. De Bijlmer werd de wijk met de slechtste reputatie van Nederland. Ad Smit verklaarde het eigenmachtig tot 'nationaal rampgebied'.
In 1995 nam de politie er meer dan twintigduizend aangiften op. Het magische getal van tweeduizend straatroven werd geregistreerd, wat neerkomt op gemiddeld bijna zes berovingen per dag. Het aantal auto-inbraken kwam uit op tienduizend.
Deze cijfers liggen nu aanzienlijk gunstiger. In 2005 waren er rond de achtduizend aangiften, waaronder ruim zeshonderd voor straatroof en ongeveer twaalfhonderd voor autokraak. Dat dit nog veel is, hoeft niemand Smit te vertellen. En hij weet ook dat het er vermoedelijk meer zijn, omdat illegalen vaak geen aangifte durven doen."
- Schenk, Weert in De Volkskrant 7 January 2006 Opereren in de ‘warzone’ van de Hopi Boys
"De Bijlmer was tien jaar geleden de meest criminele wijk van Nederland. Hoe is de situatie nu?"
- ArenaPoort website, October 2012
- GETZ, Archello website
- Holland Real Estate Yearbook: assets, Industry Trends, Market Players, M. Dijkman