Amsterdam to clean up city centre

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The capital announces plans for a major clean-up operation of the city centre.

17 December 2007

AMSTERDAM - A large part of the Amsterdam city centre will be undergoing major changes. Known prostitution locations will disappear and the main access to the centre – the Damrak, Dam and Rokin – will be cleaned up.

"It is high time to take action," says the man behind the plan, alderman for finance Lodewijk Asscher (Labour PvdA). "The time is past that we let the old city centre be taken over by riff raff."

Cooperation with police, justice department, tax authority, housing corporations, investment funds and private investors, like the Hotel Krasnapolsky, will be part of the project, what Asscher calls a large scale and drastic change to the function of the capital's entrance area.

The hotel on the Dam is expanding substantially and building an underground parking area. This involves an investment of EUR 120 million. "That will immediately fix up the unpleasant area along the Dam and the Warmoesstraat," says Asscher.

Mayor Cohen and chairperson for city district Centrum Els Iping will join Asscher to present the ‘Coalition project 1012' on Monday morning, named after the postcode of the old centre. The municipal council was informed of the plan on Sunday.

In the coming ten years many hundreds of millions of euro will be put into the project. The city itself will take an active part in the financing, though how much it will contribute is not yet known. A carefully orchestrated schedule should ensure that the findings of various project groups and the financial consequences of these findings should be known by next summer. Asscher: "We are using every instrument available to us."

Asscher is announcing the following measures, among others:

All prostitution windows in the heart of the red light district on the infamous Oude Kerksplein will be shut. The Oude Kerk will be restored to its former glory and become a cultural centre.

All the prostitution windows will disappear from the Singel, the Spuistraat and from the Korsjespoortsteeg. The number of windows on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal will be significantly reduced.

The Damstraat, Oude Doelenstraat, Oude Hoogstraat, Nieuwe Hoogstraat, Warmoesstraat and the top of the Nieuwendijk, Geldersekade, Lange Niezel and Korte Niezel will be cleaned up and made free of "crime generating functions": businesses that have traditionally been connected with crime.

The same applies for the Damrak and Rokin, where numerous hotels, coffeeshops and souvenir shops are part of international mafia-type structures. The city council is aiming to completely restructure both boulevards. "The monumental character of the buildings will be restored." "High quality retail" will take over the area, along with catering establishments, to a limited degree.

Big names like C & A and Fortis are involved in the project.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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