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Thursday morning, June 23, 2011
10.00 hours   

10.15 hours

11.45 hours            
All guests will be welcomed at the Information Centre of the Norht/South line, Stationsplein 7, by a professional guide, with coffee or tea.

Beginning of the tour.

End of the tour. All guests are invited for a coffee/tea break in Cafe de Jaren.

Cafe de Jaren opened its doors in June 1990 as one of the largest cafes in Amsterdam, sporting an entire new and unique formula. The concept is mirrored in its spacious and light rich architecture and interior decoration, as well as in its pleasant, non-pushing atmosphere. The large building features a spacious cafe on the ground floor with an international reading table, a pleasant restaurant with large-choice salad bar on the first floor, as well as a superb canal view terrace.


Background information
In 1970 the construction of the eastern line was started and it came into operation in 1977. This eastern line consists of two branches, line 53 and 54, to link the city centre with housing developments in the southeast. During the construction, plans to demolish the entire Jewish neighborhood near the Nieuwmarkt led to strong protests. The metro was still built (wall decorations at the Nieuwmarkt station are dedicated to the protests), but plans to build a highway through the neighbourhood in the centre of Amsterdam were abolished. The line had to be finished by the national government.

In 1990 line 51 was opened, partially sharing track with the previous metro lines, and new track with the extended tram line 5 to Amstelveen. This is referred to as a 'Sneltram' (fast tram), and was constructed to light rail standards. The changeover between third rail and overhead power takes place at Zuid.

In 1997 the ring tram line (50) was added to the system, providing a fast connection between the south and the west, eliminating the necessity of travelling through the city centre.

In 2002, the construction of the North/South Line was started, which was due to be completed in July 2012. Due to several setbacks and disputes with the construction company the construction of the line is behind on schedule and it is now scheduled for completion in 2017.

In 2009, a special city council investigative committee concluded that the municipality of Amsterdam "should never have approved" this project. The digging and building of underground part of the line caused historic buildings to subside and the city's budget deficit to explode. Initially the project was budgeted at €1.4 billion and it should have been finished by 2009. The total costs were re-estimated at around €3 billion and the line would not run until 2017.

The new metro line will be the first to go to the northern Amsterdam district, underneath the IJ. From there on, it will run, via Central Station to Zuid train station, which is planned to replace Amsterdam Central as the city's main transport hub. The project initially had a budget of €1.46 billion, but after several setbacks the total cost estimation has been adjusted to €3.1 billion (price level 2009), which will make it the most expensive metro line ever to be built worldwide. The program has experienced several difficulties, mainly at Central Station, resulting in the project running more than 40% over budget. The original planned opening of 2011 has slipped several times, so the current deadline has been contractually agreed upon by all parties, with the construction companies facing fines should the completion date slip any further.

The tram line to IJburg in the east was originally planned to be a metro line, and a short tunnel was constructed eastwards from Central Station underneath the railway lines towards this goal. As this line was eventually constructed as a tram line, the tunnel had been abandoned, and there are plans to use it as part of a chocolate museum. There are still plans for the tram to IJburg to be upgraded to metro and connect to the nearby city of Almere, where big new residential areas are being built. 

The North/South Line might be extended to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the future.