By Scott Roane
A new metro line, the Noord/Zuidlijn is currently being built from the North to the South of Amsterdam, directly under the old centre. As the ground is mostly sand, Amsterdam’s buildings are all built on long (up to 20 metres) wooden poles in the ground. This makes building the tunnels and underground stations extremely tricky. If you dislodge a pole by accident, the building resting on it will sink (which has already happened to a row of houses along the Vijzelstraat).
Right now you can head 26.5 metres under the ground to see this mammoth building project in progress. The entrance on the Rokin next to the tram stop Spui is open from Tuesday until Sunday, between 13:00-18:00 and access is free.
The tour takes you down 8 metres where you’ll follow a route laid over scaffolding towers. At the end, the viewing platform allows you to look into the enormous cavern which is being built to house the station. There’s a series of films about the advanced building techniques used to build the tunnels through sand and water and a selection of the numerous archaeological finds which have been dug up in the process.
Access is limited to 40 people at a time, so there may be a queue at the weekends.