Purifying Park de Ceuvel by Delva Landscape Architects #UPDATE


Back in May we published the Delva Landscape Architects concept design for Park de Ceuvel.  After years of preparation the day has finally come. De Ceuvel is open! Delva Landscape Architects sent us photos of the opening that occured in late June.


De Ceuvel Opening on june 21, 2014. Thank you’s, pride, right and left brain connections and sun salutations on the longest day. from Niki Boomkens on Vimeo.

On the 21st of june, a new creative hotspot in Amsterdam Noord officially opens. The last few months, tenants, volunteers and students, worked hard on the boats, the jetty, the Ceuvel Café and the park.

Former Ship Wharf ‘Ceuvel Volharding’
The area of ‘Ceuvel Volharding’ is a former ship wharf in Amsterdam. An abandoned and polluted site in the industrial and harbour area of Buiksloterham, in the north of Amsterdam. A plot located at the water with a special history, near the city centre of Amsterdam. In an economically better time this place would be cleaned up mechanically and built upon. The current era, in which planned urban developments come to a halt and many areas await development, provides opportunities for an alternative, less capital-intensive way of developing.

The area of ‘De Ceuvel’ does not remain abandoned. DELVA Landscape Architects developed the winning plan for the area in close collaboration with the entrepreneurs that will be using it. The site will be used as a breeding ground for creative entrepreneurs for the next ten years.


The starting point for the realization of the new creative hub ‘De Ceuvel’ is the pollution of soil and water. By filling the area with polluted dredge and the polluting activities of the ship wharf the site is heavily polluted with organic as well as inorganic pollutants. Current techniques that are used for purification of soil and water are costly, unsustainable and are often limited to hiding or moving the pollution to another site. The technique of phytoremediation, in which plants are used to stabilize, take-up or extract contamination from the soil, offers an alternative. On the site of ‘De Ceuvel’ this organic way of cleaning the soil results in a working landscape cleaning the soil and producing low-impact biomass. After ten years, the entire site is returned to the municipality of Amsterdam cleaner than we got it.
House boats
Unnecessary houseboats are put on land and transformed into 17 sustainable ateliers. At every step in the development process the highest level of sustainability that is financially viable, is pursued. The boats are insulated and equipped with a sustainable heat system, green roofs and solar cells. Wastewater from the site is purified in bio-filters and nutrients from the waste are re-used for the production of food. Organic waste (from toilets) of visitors and tenants of the boats is converted into energy. A standard connection to the municipal sewer is therefore unnecessary.




The purifying park consists of an undulating green plain of grasses, perennials, short rotation coppice and mature trees for the uptake and degradation of pollution. The plant species are specifically selected for this area; plants that suit the rugged nature of the industrial terrain of Buiksloterham. A raised wooden jetty ensures that there is no direct contact with the polluted soil. The trail winds through the planting and connects the different houseboats. The pruning of the park is not transported elsewhere but remains on the property and is used to create products from biomass. A biomass digester converts biomass into energy that is used in the area. The particular combination of plants represents a new layer in the landscape, which remained hidden before. An alternative approach to pollution transforms the negative history of a place into a positive perspective. Aesthetic quality, that does not arise from a pictorial, static landscape but is the result of a direct experience of the transformation of this area. Residents and visitors are drawn to the history of the place while they continuously defining future use.


Purifying Park de Ceuvel has been nominated in the Dutch Design Awards in the category of Habitat!

Park de Ceuvel | Amsterdam Netherlands | Delva Landscape Architects

Images courtesy of  Delva Landscape Architects

About Damian Holmes 3297 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/