Hattem is a characteristic small, fortified town, located between the forests of the Veluwe area and the IJssel river. As a part of the medieval Hanseatic trade league, the city is graced with a picturesque historical appearance with listed buildings and cityscapes. The combination of the two attractive landscapes, the picturesque quality of the city itself and three museums, makes Hattem a popular tourist destination.

Hattem, the Netherlands
2020 - 2022
Project area
2 ha
Municipality of Hattem
NTP, Studio DL
Photography credits
Melle van Dijk

While the compact scale is Hattem’s charm, the historical dimensions also pose a challenge to provide a functional, accessible, and attractive public realm for the people living and working in the historical city centre. Therefore, we started our journey in Hattem in 2014 with creating an integral vision in co-creation with inhabitants, business owners and other stakeholders. Following the adoption of the vision, we started the design and execution phases. Over the course of the past decade the entire historical city centre was revitalised. The result is a sustainable and distinctive public space that harmonises diversity. It is not a historical design, but one that unites the past, present, and future.


Visual harmony

A fundamental principle behind the design is ‘unity in diversity’. By adding clear lines to the pavement, the fragmented character of the individual buildings is metaphorically linked together to form a connected street. This created a new structure and tranquillity in the outdoor space which is was then filled in by locally reinterpreting the historical qualities of the place. The spirit of the place was thus preserved, while no dogmatic historical approach is chosen that could disrupt the overall experience. The love for history was however, reflected in a strong focus on craftsmanship and detail. The result fits Hattem: a recognisable unity that is stronger than the sum of its parts but fully respects them.


Creative Green Solutions

Because there was little opportunity for greenery in the basic structure of the public space, every intervention was carefully considered. Where public space could be greened, specific staging with optimal effects on the surrounding area was chosen. Trees were placed in such a way that they could be experienced from the surrounding streets. Benches and gathering places were positioned in close vicinity to add further comfort. In addition to the limited possibilities for adding greenery to public space, a program was started to add additional small-scale planting in collaboration with stakeholders. Residents and business owners could opt for green façade and other forms of building-related greenery.

Creator of meaningful places

Collaboration with stakeholders

The accumulation of space demands made it essential to shape the design process in collaboration with residents and stakeholders. This allowed for finding an optimal balance for each individual location and challenge with the support of residents. It also made residents aware of their common interests and the sacrifices required for the realisation of their own priorities. Thus, the process contributed to unity in desires and ultimately in the experience of the place.


Shifting views on mobility

To provide safe and accessible space for pedestrians, after several trials and surveys, vehicular traffic was removed from the two main shopping streets of Kerkstraat and Kruisstraat as well as the Markt, which is home to various cafes during opening hours. This not only provides more space for pedestrians, but also allowed for the integration of more green and public seating within the streets. In the surrounding streets, limited parking was embedded in the least conspicuous way and combined with new tree planting. To facilitate the large number of cyclists that visit the city, a series of concentrated bicycle parking pockets were constructed at logical places along through-routes just outside of the main streets.


Circular material use

While the previous design of the streets no longer met  the current demands and expectations, it was largely made of good quality clay pavers. Reusing those existing paving materials locally, in order to reduce energy and resource consumption, was an essential part of the project. The street was designed to accommodate combining existing and new materials side by side, with new materials selected to complement the existing. Special attention was also paid to the phasing in order to ensure the required quantities could be harvested prior to paving the new surfaces in adjacent streets.

Creator of meaningful places

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