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International Association of Metropolitan City Libraries (INTAMEL) Round Table

New Central Library for Amsterdam

Amsterdam City Council has agreed to build a new Central Library. This is a major step forward, not only for the city of Amsterdam. The new Central Library will be the biggest public library in the Netherlands and will be of regional and national importance. The facilities of the enlarged new library will greatly improve our potential on all fronts.

With 30.000 m2 of space it will be one of the largest freely accessible public spaces in Amsterdam. This is exactly the function of a public library, existing for the benefit of the public. The old Central Library is simply outdated and no longer capable of fulfilling this function. With 12.000 m2 it is much too small to serve large numbers of people. Currently, the development of new services and the hosting of many programs related to the library are impossible.

The new building will have 1250 study places. Six hundred of them will be equipped with internet and other IT facilities. The auditorium will have 300 seats. Everything in this new building will be oriented towards the role of the public library as a centre for information, education and culture. At last we will have the space to offer people an ambitious program in those areas.

The central place of public libraries in society is reflected in the location of the new Central Library. It will be built in the middle of Amsterdam, near the central station. A more central situation in Amsterdam would be hard to find, and all kinds of public transport converge there. Also planned on the same site are a new conservatory, hotels, offices and houses. In the broader perspective, the development of this particular site is part of the larger-scale redevelopment of the old harbour sites in the city.

Recently the City Council has appointed Jo Coenen as architect for the new library. Jo Coenen has already build a new library in Maastricht and in the Netherlands enjoys the title of "nijksbouwmeester" (roughly translated as "architect of state").

It is his task to build a library that also gives visual expression to the main tasks of a public library. The city council has agreed to a building budget of f163.000.000 (74.000.000 Euro) in order to make this possible. According to plan, the new Central Library will open its doors in the year 2006. We expect that 2.500.000 visitors each year will pass through those doors. We will have a new Central Library and a good prospect for the future.

Further information is available at http://www.oba.nl


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