Period of time
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3-4 weeks during the summer of 2020
Mostly the residents but permission needs to be granted by the Municipality
Inspired by the Leefstraten project in Gent, Belgium, and similar to the summer streets in Munich, the city of Amsterdam hosted holiday streets last summer. Three streets in Amsterdam (the Kalmoesstraat, the Putterstraat and the Pelikaanstraat, all located in the city district Noord) have been converted to holiday streets. The principal aim was to make the street car-free and more accommodating for play and social interaction. But what was unique, is that they give citizens a responsible alternative to a vacation abroad. Although the pandemic during last summer was less intense than before, traveling abroad was still discouraged. Luckily it was allowed to have more interaction outside. To make this a success, the city council has made the application process for citizens to start their own vakantiestraat free of charge, easy and accessible. However, some conditions were put forth by the municipality. Firstly, in order to apply, the residents need to have a clear plan. Next, it should be guaranteed that everyone (the initiators, residents, businesses, etc.) in the street is involved and that activities are organised in open dialogue. Moreover, the initiative should be broadly supported by all parties concerned.
Before the pandemic the idea already existed to have a greener street. But the crisis made a liveable street more urgent, as many residents in these areas don’t have a garden. Finally during the lockdown, some residents had gathered enough signatures in the street to initiate the process. It is a very dynamic experiment that allows for many types of activities such as open air cinemas and picnics that emerge spontaneously whenever residents feel like it. Even though the emphasis of this experiment is more on social cohesion than it is on mobility, still some residents explored how the car-free street could become a permanent reality.
To make streets car-free, more comfortable for social interaction and provide alternatives for vacations abroad
More social functions on the street;
More local ownership;
More community involvement (although on a very small scale).
Also, application processes have been made more easy and accessible, and parking suspensions have been temporarily made free of charge.
Streets have been temporarily made car free.
Photo credits: Vakantiestraat.nl