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Vinkzicht buildings saved for now

26 April 2008 - District Oud-West wants to demolish all but the façade of the historic Vinkzicht buildings in order to build a four star hotel with one hundred rooms. The plans have been suspended because of a request to have the buildings listed as historic monuments.

The Cuypers Association has asked the district to list the 19th Century buildings. The reason is not just the façade and the relation with the adjacent buildings, but also the typical gabled roofs and the almost unique rear elevation, visible from the Tetterode complex.

The request to have the buildings listed was sent in March, but the district says it received it only a month later, on 24 April. The plan was to inform the neighbourhood residents of the plans in April, but because of the request the process will most likely be suspended for at least twelve weeks.

Initially, the district wanted to demolish the buildings and build a large Ibis hotel. After neighbourhood, protests a new plan was presented. The façade will remain intact, but the buildings' height will be extended by 1.80 metre, which means that the roof and the rear will have to be sacrificed.

Without this extension, the building could probably accommodate only about eighty rooms. According to the developer, Vondel Hotels, the hotel would then not be profitable.

Last year, the district presented plans to attract tourists with its artists and its and industrial and craft history. Interestingly, the project book that came with the plan prominently features a photo of the rear of the Vinkzicht buildings. "But they want to demolish those Vinkzicht buildings", responds Rens den Hollander, one of the neighbourhood residents who oppose the demolition.

Den Hollander says that it is no problem that tourists come to Oud-West, but this must not go at the expense of the neighbourhood. "Of course, a city attracts tourists and that's OK, but why not create more small-scale hotels at different locations rather than one hundred rooms and four stars at a time?"

"You can count on a branch opposite the hotel opening a delftware tourist shop; that's not what the neighbourhood needs at all. Further, such a hotel will definitely cause traffic and noise nuisance, and air quality, which is problematic at this location as it is, will not improve".

Den Hollander further points out that the intended developer will end up owning four hotels in Oud-West, and will therefore have a serious position of power in the district. "That's an undesirable concentration of influential people versus the neighbourhood residents and their interests".

For now, the Monuments and Architecture Office (BMA) has to issue an advice on the request to list the Vinkzicht buildings. It is conceivable that the district will brush aside the advice. In 1999, it also disregarded an advice to submit the buildings to be listed as monuments, because it did not want to thwart previous plans to partially demolish them.

Vinkzicht website (in Dutch), tourism plan


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