Singelpark Leiden

Leiden, The Netherlands

Location Leiden, The Netherlands
Site type Urban park
Project type Masterplan
Site size 8 ha
Design 2012-2018
Construction 2015-2030
Client Municipality of Leiden

The Dutch city of Leiden wishes to enrich Europe’s repertory of important public green spaces with a unique urban park concept: the Singelpark. It is to be a continuous band of interconnected green spaces, more than six kilometers in length, along the former military fortifications surrounding the most densely built historical center in the Netherlands.

Leiden’s Singelpark is ambitious, but it is first and foremost for the people of Leiden, is the city government’s philosophy. If it is a success on a neighborhood level, then it will also draw people from both the inner city and the outskirts. And in turn it will make Leiden more attractive for visitors from abroad, along with the museums and the historical buildings.

The winning proposal for this competition begins at the water line. By transforming both sides of the canal into continuous, natural horticultural strips, the canals will become a sensitive backbone for slow movement through the city. The natural atmosphere along the canals will be constructed artificially with the aid of the Hortus Botanicus to create cosmopolitan seed and plant mixes.

Linked to the water line, sixteen park spaces with various characters are defined, in which local groups and actors can define the program and get involved in the maintenance and programming of the space.

The park design is built on a number of basic principles. First starting point is that the city park, which is now still existing of a number of loose green places, as soon as possible should offer at the full length a contiguous park experience; This is therefore a realistic transformation in the short term.

A second principle is that the park will have to function as a physical and social connection between the old town, and the surrounding suburbs. This has implications for the program, routing and the role of local residents. On the basis of a comprehensive analysis are then formulated four themes guiding the spatial and functional organization of the Singelpark: maximum diversity, free space, intuitive navigation and cosmopolitan nature.

Different sections of the Singelpark

Botanical concept

Flowery banks along the cemetery and flour factory