Interactive map shows age of any Dutch building

Interactive map shows age of any Dutch building

Have you ever wondered how old the buildings in your Dutch neighbourhood really are?

It’s often difficult to tell, not only due to the very high quality of many restoration projects, which can cut away centuries of grime and decay, but also because many new buildings are designed with older architectural traditions in mind.

The Waag Society map

CitySDK, a service development kit for city interface applications, has created a one-of-a-kind map of the Netherlands using data from the Dutch Land Registry and Mapping Agency (BAG) to show the ages of all 9,8 million buildings in the Netherlands.

The demo project, designed to explore the potential of linked open data, was spearheaded by Bert Spaan of the Waag Society.

The developers also make use of information crowd-sourcing: in order to ensure the map is constantly improving in accuracy, BAG invites users to help fill in any incorrect or missing data they find.

Using the map

Colour-codes ranging from dark red (oldest) to blue (newest) give a sense of the patterns of development Dutch cities and towns have followed.

Whereas newly-built cities, like Almere, glow bright blue, others have formed around an ancient core that still stands. Meanwhile, a number of smaller towns can be seen to consist largely of pre-20th-century structures.

Hovering your cursor over a particular building brings up information on its exact date of construction (if known), street address and function type.

Though navigation on the map can take some getting used to, using it in tandem with Google Maps or Google Earth can provide orientation.

Emily McCallum


Emily McCallum

Emily grew up in a small coastal town in western Canada and moved to Utrecht in 2014, after completing her studies in Vancouver and Germany. So far, she has been...

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