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Master Plan of Park21

Location: Haarlemmermeer, the Netherlands

Type: overall planning, operation & supervisory system

Size: 1000 hectares

Purpose: urban agriculture, recreation, sport, indoor recreation, restaurant, exhibition

Client: Municipality of Haarlemmermeer

Time: 2008-now

Statue: under construction



The vision of Park21 is for it to become a park with its own clearly recognizable identity, a park that has something to offer for everyone, throughout the entire year. The masterplan incorporates tranquil areas of nature and areas for serious recreation as well as indoor and outdoor activities.


The concept of Park21 centers around the interplay between three layers: the polder layer, the park layer and the leisure layer. The three layers are overlaid in an intimate interaction, in some places coming together in a highlight or focal point. The layers are complementary, but with clear differences. Strolling on a boulevard, or with boots through a nature area, the encounter between those worlds intensifies the experience and stimulates perception. It is never dull in the park of the 21st century. You can always choose in which world you wish to interact. It is precisely this ambiguity and choice which makes Park21 a modern park.


The polder layer consists largely of agrarian polder landscape which will be gradually transformed into urban agriculture or nature reserve. The historical water system and agricultural heritage is still recognizable, and the busy roads traversing the site will remain intact although downgraded. Some of the farms can gradually adopt a different function such as a riding school or care facility, campsite or tea garden.


Winding forest structures break through the starkness of the polder forming the park layer. This provides for an attractive experience for relaxing, hiking, biking and horse riding. The forest structure is punctured with open fields for sunbathing, sports fields and event terrains.


A study of leisure time showed there is great demand for all sorts of leisure facilities in the region. It also appears that investors are interested in developing attractions in this park, in particular the more intensive leisure facilities. Because the park is so large – 1,000 hectares, leisure functions (about 200 hectares) can find their place without disturbing the more extensive facilities. Together the various facilities ensure there is always something to experience in the park.


The leisure layer has a series of core leisure areas of intense recreational activities. Happy City and Holland Garden are the busiest attractions in the park and are located near business districts and infrastructure. Park Village is located in a quieter place near the new lake, and has optimal access by public transportation. The western part of the park with its large lake, islands, meadows and grasslands and forests is nicely aligned with the world of tranquility, nature and cultural history: the green of the Haarlemmermeer, the dune zone and the zone of country estates.


The vision for Park21 is a development and an investment strategy, not a final design plan. The nature layer need not be too expensive and the park layer can be developed with a realistic budget. The leisure layer however requires extra investment, but there are returns to be made. The development of the leisure layer and the park layer are defined by the historical subdivision pattern of the Haarlemmermeer. Depending on the acquirement of land parcels, the layout of these layers will need to be adjusted. Being flexible in the location of activities can significantly reduce the acquisition cost.