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Bellamypark · Vlissingen, the Netherlands

Linking sea and city: a flexible square

Recovering the former harbour as a multi-functional urban space


Bellamypark’s rich history means the place has already seen many faces, from harbour to car park. Its size and central location in the city made it attractive as an events square. At the same time, there was also an opportunity to make the square more attractive and greener, thus doing more justice to its name as a park. Our design provided a better fit of the urban scale and context and arranged Bellamypark in a way that did justice to both the history of the place and its contemporary role.

Vlissingen, the Netherlands
2008 - 2012
Project area
2,5 ha
Gemeente Vlissingen
Atelier Jéol
Photography credits
Annie Beugel

Rich history

Walking on Bellamypark is walking on historic grounds. When the Spanish chief architect Don Pacheo arrived in the city carrying a death list of people living in Vlissingen, he was immediately imprisoned at Bellamypark. A stone in the pavement reminds us of this event that was part of Vlissingen history, being the first city to liberate themselves from the Spanish during the Dutch 80-year liberation war. Because of its strategic position, Vlissingen always was a focal point during the wars, including during the Second World War, when the city was heavily bombed.


Balancing out qualities

We were inspired by the layers of history, which present themselves in the urban layout of the city, via a sequence of harbours. In the historic heart of Vlissingen, Bellamypark originated after the Koopmanshaven and was filled in at the beginning of the 20th century. A contemporary reinterpretation of the former space transforms the elongated setting, which used to be dominated by cars and parking lots, into a hybrid public space with both park and square characteristics. The design challenge was to rediscover a scale that matched the architecture and intended use of the place and to allow the space to host frequent small events and larger annual events like the Liberation Festival on 5 May, whilst being a space that is inviting to stay, even on the days when there are no events.


Restored sense of scale

We restored the balance with a square that facilitates various forms of urban use while simultaneously telling its own spatial and historical story. In this elongated space, a transition was made from a spacious square, designed for use by the hospitality industry, to a more intimate park-like place where blooming planting beds divide the space and offer a recreational quality. The clear layout makes the structure of the space readable again. It is distinctly a contemporary square with an eye on history.

Creator of meaningful places
Creator of meaningful places

A relaxing, lively square

Thanks to movable furniture and planting beds, the space can be flexibly arranged. This makes the stay pleasant on weekdays, while also allowing for a lot of space to be made available for events. The edges of the square have been given a new profile, considering the various functions behind the surrounding facades. There is now – where needed – ample space for terraces, supplies and strolling pedestrians. Every aspect has found its optimal place. This way, the square quality and the park quality of the place are combined. Bellamypark can thus serve as both a green and attractive place throughout the year as well as an event square; Bellamypark has now been embraced as the bustling heart of Vlissingen’s nightlife. During the summer months, the park is filled with cozy terraces and serves as the venue for many of the festivals and events held in Vlissingen. Bellamypark has now been embraced as the bustling heart of Vlissingen’s nightlife.


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