Adaptive Reuse Transforms Dutch Sewage Plant

Looks great, smells better! Adaptive reuse will transform a sewage treatment plant in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, into a multi-functional cultural center.


“Family-oriented” isn’t the first term that comes to mind when considering sewage treatment plants. Then again, the former waste works on Zeeburgereiland (a triangular island on the east side of Amsterdam) isn’t your garden-variety sewage treatment plant – or at least, it isn’t anymore!


Built in the 1980s, the Zeeburgereiland plant was rendered redundant when a new sewage plant opened in the Westelijk Havengebied district. Most of the old plant was bulldozed with only the fermentation tanks and a couple of sludge pumping stations left standing “for nostalgic reasons”… you gotta love the Dutch!


IJburg Project Office then sought to explore ways of adaptively reusing the site and its remaining structures through a competition. The eventual winner, as announced by Amsterdam city planning councilman Maarten van Poelgeest on April 8th, 2009 was Annie MG Schmidt House. Annie Schmidt (1911-1995) was one of the Netherlands’ most beloved writers and is particularly well-known for her children’s books.


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