Many Dutch cities drastically changed and developed their centers from the 50s and 60s onward. In places such as Zoetermeer, Almere, Rotterdam and so on, the city centre developed around one main activity: shopping. So far nothing new, but the impressive aspect is the extravagance and monumentality reached by new shopping roads and malls within the city’s core. In contrast with the sobriety of Rotterdam’ Lijnbaan devised and realized right after WW2, Zoetermeer shows a new scale and image of the shopping. In Rotterdam, a similar attempt is represented by OMA’s Coolsingel project, the initial proposal was definitely daring due to its crazy structure and large scale.
However, what is more shocking of the Zoetermeer case is the deep contrast between what is dedicated to shopping and what is dedicated to public activities, such as the city hall, public library and train station. It seems as if someone forgot about the last ones.
Shopping in Zoetermeer:
City Hall and main square in Zoetermeer:
Coolsingel by OMA, initial proposal: