The harbour basins of the Eastern Docklands have been laid out some 100 years ago. The docklands became a lively district, but not for long. In the second half of the 20th century the harbour moved gradually to the west of Amsterdam and the area became available for housing. Towards the end of the century the city asked urban designers with an open view for new, unusual possibilities, to plan a new residential district.
Amsterdam had to direct its face to the water again. And there was widespread belief that the city needed a district, not as everywhere else, but with respect for the past. So the harbour basins were kept intact, and many old buildings as well. The result gained admiration in the whole world.