Even amidst lockdown measures and a movement to discourage tourism in Amsterdam, plans to erect a Ferris wheel on the Oosterdok are in the works — and residents aren’t happy about it.
A permit for the new Ferris wheel was issued by the Water Board before New Year’s, according to Het Parool. The application was submitted by Vallentgoed Fairground Exploitation, a company that travels the world renting out what they claim is the largest Ferris wheel in Europe.
The one-year permit takes effect in February 2021, with the intended Ferris wheel site located near the Nemo science museum and Arcam architecture centre.
— Walther Schoonenberg (@WSchoonenberg) January 4, 2021
Who wants the wheel?
Expeditie Oosterdok, a collaboration between 12 cultural institutions and 17 additional companies in the area, is behind the push for the new 36-metre Ferris wheel. The organisations, which include museums such as Nemo, and the Scheepvaartmuseum, and companies such as Booking.com and Sea Palace, are hoping to bring a new cultural attraction to the area.
“The idea is that visitors to museums may also enter the Ferris wheel to view the city, the IJ and the Oosterdok from a great height,” according to Het Parool. “A cultural attraction, where the story of the area is central.”
Central Amsterdam residents, on the other hand, fear it will bring an unwanted fair, and so do other local agencies.
“A Ferris wheel is and remains a fairground attraction, whether the initiative comes from museums or not,” says Walther Schoonenberg of the Friends of Amsterdam Inner City Association. “Do they want to tell the story of the Oosterdok? Well, that story is about the silting up of the water in that area due to all kinds of buildings, such as the IJ tunnel. In that respect, such a Ferris wheel is a new example of this trend.”
SP party chairman Erik Flentge also objects: “I thought that we had agreed in Amsterdam that we no longer want a tourism amusement park.”
City permit still needed
While the water permit has been issued, this does not mean the decision is final. Another permit must be issued by the Centrum district. District Councilor Micha Mos says, “We are going to make an integrated assessment with the Environment Agency.”
In the meantime, Expeditie Oosterdok is still flushing out the details. Their working title: Eye Amsterdam — a reference to the much higher 135-metre London Eye Ferris Wheel.
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Feature Image: Michelle Ventura/Pexels