Goodbye highway โ€” hello lean, mean, green scenery (and 5000+ houses) for Rotterdam!

Man, we love it when we get to tell a highway to hit the road. It’s even sweeter when that ugly grey highway is being covered over by some flippin’ amazing forest and affordable housing. And when it could all happen in Rotterdam? Hell yeah!

The Rotterdam PvdA (Labour Party) dropped a brand-spankin’ new proposal for a stunning residential area called Het Nieuwe Noorden โ€” translating to “The New North” โ€” this January. And if this is what the future of the Netherlands could look like, we are totally on board.

(Go ahead and slide it, you know you want to ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Green space and killer housing

Architectural firm MVRDV developed the plan, which would completely cover the A20 between Hillegersberg and Rotterdam Noord and replace it with greenery instead. We. Are. In!

If you’re salivating over the images already you’re probably wondering “well, how can I live there?” And that’s the even better news: the green zone includes space for 5000 affordable homes.

Correct, 5000! Houses, not apartments! In a major Dutch city! In a green zone!

Okay, we’ll chill now.

From A20 to A-OK

The A20 runs along the north side of the city, and most of it is just a view of businesses and noise barriers. Yuck. In the new proposal, a fresh, green approach will be taken to the area โ€” and the highway will disappear.

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Initiator Dennis Tak, councillor of Rotterdam’s PvdA, is proud of the plan. “A large polluting highway will disappear from the cityscape and Rotterdam will get a huge and affordable residential area in return.”

What the A20 could look like. Image: Het Nieuwe Noorden/MVRDV

And while this proposal is new, the idea is not. Het Nieuwe Noorden elaborates on a plan from 2009 called the Kralingse Berg. โ€œThe A20 has been a thorn in the side of Rotte-loving Rotterdam for years,โ€ says Tak. โ€œWith the extension of the A16, the motorway has become less necessary.”

“This approach not only solves the problem of the motorway, but it also creates space for sustainable construction โ€” not luxury residential towers, but affordable family homes for Rotterdammers.โ€

What the A20 currently looks like. Image: Het Nieuwe Noorden/MVRDV

Give it to us โ€” what comes next?

Alright, it’s (sadly) not going to appear overnight. The plan was submitted on January 4 and has since gone through a feasibility study.

Now it has to go to the city council for a vote which will hopefully happen before the summer. The national government will also need to be lobbied to make changes to the A20, so there’s a bit of work to be done.

READ MORE | This new Dutch neighbourhood is completely car-free โ€” and looks UTOPIAN

But if the proposal is realised, up to 160,000 Rotterdammers are expected to benefit. Hey, that could be you!

What do you think of this plan to greenify Rotterdam? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Het Nieuwe Noorden/MVRDV
Editorโ€™s Note: This article was originally published in January 2021, and was fully updated in June 2021 for your reading pleasure.

Samantha Dixon ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ
Sam isnโ€™t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still canโ€™t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

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