The wait is over. After an intensive and extensive renovation starting from 1997, the station in Arnhem was finally opened last Thursday. It took 18 years to finish it because it was completed in various phases; the train platforms, underground parking, bus station and ditto platforms, shops, cafes, restaurants and even movie theaters. Another reason of the late finishing was the unexpected financial problems due to European financial crisis.
This station is officially called Arnhem Centraal Station. It is the first central station in the east of the country beside Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague), Leiden and Utrecht which are located in the west. The definition of a central station is when it gets more than 40.000 passengers daily. Arnhem meets this requirement easily as it is an important hub in the east regions of The Netherlands and close to Germany.
The project was huge. The renovation took place not only the train and bus station but also the surroundings. The total cost counts € 625 millions, € 37,5 millions of which was spent on the station hall. Ben van Berkel, Dutch architect of UNStudio designed it. It is an excellent piece of work. Van Berkel reckoned with the light, space and function of public spots where visitors can hang out inside and outside. Brilliant!
The main hall is spacey, futuristic, modern and very light. I took some pics of it with my iPhone. Despite the bad, dark weather outside, it stayed light inside. Somehow this reminds me of Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
The design integrates the train station with the bus platforms smoothly. In the hall it is comfortably warm, passengers don’t have to wait in the cold for their bus.
Pay attention to the bike rack in the basement left under in the pic, cool right?
These are the ports leading to the train platforms where passengers are able to scan their ticket.
The piano corner. Those who have travelled by train in The Netherlands might have seen this. In big train stations all over the country there stands a piano, to be played by passengers. Dutch Railway Company launched this excellent ide a couple of years ago. Public loves this. I have heard/seen many talented random piano players during my trip with the train.
This is an aerial impression of Arnhem Centraal, courtesy of UNStudio. Those two blueish green buildings are Arnhem World Trade Center. On the left, the Rhine river streaming to Germany is clearly visible.
My Indonesian family and friends who have repeteadly visited me between 1997 up until now were used to the idea of this endless project. At one point they stopped asking me when the station would be ready. When I was pregnant of ny daughter in November 2000 the part of the bus platforms was a work site. Now that my daughter is 14 years old, it is finally completed and the result is amazing.
Note: All pics were taken with my iPhone.