Amsterdam's Passageway Immerses You In Art

Amsterdam's Passageway Immerses You In Art
March 4, 2017

The city of Amsterdam just added another attraction to its long list of must-sees. Artists Arno Coenen, Iris Roskam and Hans van Bentem converted an arched passageway into Amsterdam Oersoep, an immersive art project decorated with seemingly innumerable references to the city of Amsterdam, its history, and its future. Glass mosaic, traditional Italian terrazzo, gilded mirrors, and recycled bicycle chandeliers are just a few of the beautiful elements that make up the intricate and enchanting artwork.


Commissioned by Bouwinvest, Amsterdam Oersoep was created as part of a redevelopment project called Nowadays that encompasses the passageway and the buildings attached to it on Nieuwendijk and Damrak. Amsterdam Oersoep—Oersoep is Dutch for ‘primordial soup’—was created in Beurspassage, a passageway between Damrak avenue and the street of Nieuwendijk popularly used among Amsterdam residents and tourists. The renewed Beurspassage was created as a major tourist attraction, beautification project, and to include the world’s longest coffee bar in the world: Liquid Mokum.

The Amsterdam Oersoep pays homage to the city’s canals with its color scheme and wavy images that give the effect of walking through an underwater tunnel. The ceiling is covered in 450 square meters of glass mosaic embedded with iconic symbols of Amsterdam, from fish and air bubbles that allude to the canals to bicycle gears and a floating Vincent van Gogh ear. The sides of the passageway are lined with bluish-green tiles as well as large gilded and engraved Art Deco-styled mirrors. Handmade stained glass lamps, crafted in thirteen different shapes, hang from the sides. The traditional Italian terrazzo flooring is decorated with icons symbolic of the city’s rich heritage of art and trade. Seven golden chandeliers hung from above are made from recycled bicycle parts like gears, headlamps, and handlebars. Every detail in the Amsterdam Oersoep hints to the stories of Amsterdam, creating a richly layered and beautiful artwork that fully immerses whomever walks through the passage.


Images by Kees Hummel


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