As promised this journal entry will look at Oosterpolder and the Central Business District. The shot above gives a good overview of the whole Oosterpolder ('Eastern land-reclamation'). What was originally a spit of land reaching into the shallow sea, has been expanded over the centuries using a system of dams, canals and land drainage. Taken together this is the 'polder' system of land reclamation. In the case of Pieterdam's Oosterpolder, this has allowed several square kilometers of prime real-estate to be reclaimed from the sea. This land has not gone to waste; as you can see, the part closest to the city has become a densely-developed Central Business District.
Here you can see some of Pieterdam's largest employers. To the front left is the Zentraal Zikenhuis, the Central Hospital. To the right is the De Wolf department store - one of the older buildings in the area, which managed to survive the major warehouse fire that cleared the area at the turn of the 20th century. Behind these are the Servicing Services and Digirealms buildings - just two of the corporations which make their home in Pieterdam.
The Science Centre is another major employer. It provides office and laboratory space, as a commercial spin-off of the University of Pieterdam. The University's main campus is located about a kilometer away, on the Oosterpolder side of the Oudekade:
Another notable landmark is the picturesque Oosterpolderpark, famous for its lake and open-air arboretum:
A view from the lakeside:
The Oosterpolder closest to Oudekade and the city centre is some of the most expensive in the city.
Besides shopping centers and offices, the area contains a large number of hotels to cater for Pieterdam's significant tourist economy.
Below you can make out two of the more famous hotels in the area; the Hilton (by far the largest hotel in the city, with nearly 1.000 beds), and the Prism, an independent hotel popular with LGBT visitors; indeed, the area around it has become something of a 'gay village' with many cafe-bars, late clubs and boutique stores catering for this community.
Just to the right of the Prism you can see the West Holland Civichuis, seat of the provincial government. And over the other side of the water you can just make out the Stadhuis, the City Hall which administrates Pieterdam itself. Together the Civichuis and Stadhuis host the political life of West Holland.
By now we've been here all day, and soon the sun will be setting - but life in the Oosterpolder continues After Dark!
When the sun goes down, the lights come on!
The Vermeerplein (above) is a good example of Pieterdam's night-life - bustling with open-air restaurants and market stalls, it also hosts the Rondo Drome Cinema, a real gem of 1920's Modernist architecture:
When the restaurants and theaters close, some of us go to our beds - but others continue partying the whole night through! Far from the city center, near the furthest edges of the Oosterpolder, is the Tramwegstraat, also known its English name 'Tramway Street', which is the definitive center of Pieterdam's alternative and late-night club scenes:
Refuse trucks going to work, whilst exhausted revelers wait for a tram back to the city center and Old Town...
As the sun comes up, the music continues at the legendary 5 AM Club.
Up-and-down the Tramwegstraat abandoned buildings are squatted by youth groups (above), whilst other buildings cater for the seedier side of life (below):
Pieterdam lacks a polished, touristic 'red light district' like the one found in Amsterdam; instead brothels operate out of several low-rent premises along the Tramwegstraat.
This area nearby has the lowest land value in all the Oosterpolder, and for that reason it has become home to various low-rise 'out-of-town' retail outlets - as well as the Zoo Palast multi-screen cinema:
A large parcel of land adjacent to the cinema is currently being developed into Pieterdam's first true 'shopping mall' - the city council hope that this will help to regenerate the area around the Tramwegstraat, although some local residents are resistant to this idea and vow to maintain the distinctive character of the area - for better or worse!
This whole area borders the actual dam, from which Pieterdam takes its name. The original dam dates back centuries, but it has been extensively improved down the years. Where the river meets the sea, the resulting polder-land has been developed into a series of quiet suburbs:
Traffic bypasses these suburbs completely as it heads towards the bridges and overpasses that line the riverside:
Next time, let's take a look at where all that traffic is heading: towards the heavy industrial areas of the Docklands, over on the far side of the river from the city.
That's all for this journal!
Dank je wel...