The Amsterdam City Council has agreed to open a new library on the Zuidas in 2025: OBA Next.
It must become a place where àll Amsterdammers can increase their digital resilience. OBA Next has the ambition to become ‘the cultural heart of the Zuidas’. The Amsterdam Public Library (OBA) wants to turn it into a wide-ranging meeting place, which can also offer an inspiring study environment to pupils, their parents and students. It must also become a place where knowledge can be exchanged (Open Learning Hub) and where cultural activities take place.
OBA Next will focus less on the classical book, but more on technology, explains Hilde van Wijngaarden, director of the University Library (VU). OBA and VU are going to collaborate in a project called Community Service Learning. This project encourages debate, educational innovation, sustainability and language skills. The OBA hopes to be able to use the experiences gained with this at other library locations in the city.
The new library will be a three-minute walk from Amsterdam Zuid Station. A slow-traffic route will be made at the new western exit towards the Kenniskwartier, of which the VU and Amsterdam University Medical Center are already part.
The city council only approved the plans for OBA Next after a strong debate. This is because the city council has a shortage of money for youth care, reason for the opposition parties, in particular VVD, to propose the scrapping of the new library.
However, the city council, led by progressive GroenLinks, wants nothing to do with this. According to GroenLinks-spokesperson Femke Roosma, the new library is also intended to make it clear that the Zuidas is not only for expensive financial institutions and law firms. “The Zuidas is not only for the rich. It must become a place where all Amsterdammers like to go to, so that they will also see Zuidas as a part of their city. ”
The OBA asked students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology what the library of the future might look like. The American students made models, drawings, photos and texts, which are currently on display in study room 2B of the VU main building.