Beneath the Waters: Amsterdam’s Largest Bicycle Parking Garage

In the water, in front of the main entrance of Amsterdam Central Station, on the section of Prins Hendrikkade – a major street in the centre of the capital that served as a bus station until July 2018 – the largest bicycle parking garage in Amsterdam, with approximately 7000 bicycle parking spaces, has been realised. The design highlights its location below the water’s surface.


The bicycle parking garage is part of the De Entree project, which will renew the entire station area on the city-centre side in the coming years. In addition to the design of the bicycle storage, wUrck is also responsible for the design of the low quay and supervises all architectural components of De Entree, such as bridges and jetties.

A grand entrance

The area between Prins Hendrikkade and Stationsplein lies submerged, more than 9m below ground level, with sightseeing boats above. To overcome this elevation difference, an imposing entrance has been crafted using top-tier materials. Descending via escalators, users are guided alongside a wall that seamlessly extends from the quay wall, composed of sleek basalt stone. These escalators are integral to an entrance point, imbuing the expansive area with the essence of a sculpted natural stone formation. An extensive glass wall on the interior of the entrance area ensures that the submerged storage area remains illuminated with natural daylight.

Oyster-inspired contrast

While the materialisation of the main entrance is robust and rough, the interior is a smooth, light atmosphere equipped with a coated cast floor and a seamless white ceiling. It is a contrast reminiscent of an oyster, with its rough shell and smooth interior. Within this metaphor, the volume of the manager’s room and the bicycle service point can be seen as the pearl in the oyster. This volume is located in a central, strategic position, next to the reception area and with an overview of the entire storage. The ‘pearl’ has the shape of a bevelled glass rectangle with rounded corners, made of curved glass with a water pattern.

Guiding pathways and artistry

The spacious reception area forms the pivot point between the main entrance and the ‘colonnade,’ the wide central main path that diagonally crosses the site and is marked by a double row of white drop columns. When entering from the reception area, the other exit is immediately visible at the end of the colonnade: the connecting tunnel that leads to the subway and the station. The access point to this connecting tunnel is flanked and specialised by two sgraffito artworks by Artist Lex Hoorn. On both sides of the wide, curved colonnade are the aisles with bicycle racks. To enhance the orientation function of the colonnade, the drop columns are illuminated from below.

Underwater art world

What is unique about the site is its location below the water. Water has, therefore, been made an identity carrier of the storage. This is evident not only from the ‘quay wall’ at the entrance, the drop columns and the metaphor of the oyster, but also from the design of three special elements: the horizon, the oculi and the pearl.

The entire right wall, the horizon, is equipped with a glass front with maps from the city’s emergence to the 21st century. These city maps are composed of small images, photos and paintings that emphasise the connection between Amsterdam and the water.

This theme is also reflected in the oculi, the round lighting fixtures in the ceiling of the main path (the colonnade). The manager’s room and the bicycle service point can be seen as the pearl in the oyster, with its curved glass with a water pattern, the ‘wave’.

Both the horizon, the pearl and the oculi serve as orientation aids for the user. All images come from the Amsterdam Museum, with which wUrck has closely collaborated to realise this.

Share this article

Login to post comments

About us

Future Constructor & Architect is a specification platform for architects and building contractors, which focuses on top-end domestic and commercial developments.

As well as timely industry comment and legislation updates, the magazine covers recent projects and reviews the latest sustainable building products on the market. Subscribe here.

Privacy policy

Latest updates


Sign up below to receive monthly construction, architecture and product updates from FC&A via email: