Ridders in de Bijlmer
Ridders in de Bijlmer (Knights in Bijlmer) is a 360-page hard cover book that offers a walk through the history of the South East area of Amsterdam, from an Urban Planner’s perspective. A richly illustrated story about the early reclamation of polders, bloody conflicts between knights, dukes and clergymen and the creation of a ‘New Town’: De Bijlmermeer.
Ridders in de Bijlmer is written by Evert van Voskuilen, Urban Planner for gemeente Amsterdam stadsdeel Zuidoost from 1987 until 2013. The people of stadsdeel Zuidoost invited Vinger to turn Everts story into a book. Quite a process and certainly a rewarding job, all the way from creating the visual concept and graphic design to the desktop production, image & text editing and image research, selection and clearance. The book was published by gemeente Amsterdam stadsdeel Zuidoost in 2014.
Through the ages the land of De Bijlmermeer was characterized by radical changes. By the forces of nature and the hand of man De Bijlmer transformed from peat into lake into polder, then got intentionally flooded, was reclaimed as polder again, flooded again, was reclaimed once more and was eventually used for agriculture until 1965 when they decided it was time for the largest urban sprawl in Dutch history. If there is one thing that runs through the history of De Bijlmer it’s water... Such a powerful element that provided us with all the inspiration needed for the visual concept for this book. The five shades of blue are a crystal clear reference and help the reader flow through the great amount of content with ease. The restyled crest of De Bijlmer falls onto the cover like a drop of water. A refreshing form for an ancient story!
The book is divided into three parts. Each part is introduced with a monochrome spread page presenting the respective subjects and colour coding. Part I is about the origins of the area dating back to the first reclamations during the Middle Ages. Part II is about the modern vision, the construction and the renewal of the large scale urbanisation project: De Bijlmermeer as we know it now. Part III is a testimonial of De Bijlmer today in the form of personal interviews, anecdotes and thematic articles.