The iron triangle

A piece by Maxim Etty, Dave Lantinga and Diogo Baptista

Alongside the peaceful, slow floating waters of Amsterdam’s canals, we find 58 large concrete structured subway stations to transport 87.000 people daily to their destinations. Compared to the look and feel of the city center, the subways do certainly not have the same vibe. Especially girls don’t feel comfortable taking the subway to the suburbs on their own at late and dark nights.

As one makes its way down east, the metro slows down its pace and eventually stops at the station of Kraaiennest. As passengers leave, the metro picks up speed and the station empties. Crow screeches break the silent and keep the station’s name alive. On the right side of the platform a massive and modern concrete building overshadows the railway platform. A couple more residential buildings surround that area and nestle along the right side of the rails. At the end of the transportation infrastructure, the left side encompasses an impressive eye-catching mosque. Four towers topped with a half-moon peek out of the Islamic temple and mark the end of the station. As one turns its sight towards the opposite side of the station, an almost desolate neighbourhood clashes with the packed south-west wing.

Metro station Zuid, a quite busy place, opened its first line in 1990. Two more followed years later. Many people cross from all kinds of places, as the platforms are connected with a train station. The place feels grey but alive. It is plausible that girls feel more comfortable here than in Kraaiennest, due to the constant presence of passengers. It shows a variety of people with different backgrounds and reasons to be there. The majority of them have a certain type of formal look. Women wear high heels, skirts and classic coats, mostly black and blue. The men typically wear suits, often grey or black with brown shoes. All logic, as the station is located in the financial district. This also explains the noise. People are constantly calling or are gathered in groups of four and talk about business related topics while waiting for the subway to arrive.

As one steps onto the blue line, the most recent metro line in Amsterdam, the atmosphere changes to a more modern and diverse crowd. Noord/Zuidlijn officially opened in July 2018 hence the modern sphere and polished stations. After a 15-minute ride, one arrives at the end-station Noord. When stepping out, a glass capsule encircles the station. Passengers who come from different parts of Noord-Holland descend the stairs and move onto the correspondent bus or bike transfer. Open sides allow a slight breeze but give a pleasant feel. A beautiful drawing featuring a bird-theme covers the upper floor of the platform and turns the infrastructure into a playful and creative cross-point.