‘I amsterdam’ letters upcycled for the Netherlands’ biggest outdoor free-running and parkour track

The biggest outdoor free-running and parkour track in the Netherlands was inaugurated on 11 July 2016 on the banks of the Sloterplas, a lake in Amsterdam’s Nieuw West district. The parkour track, to be managed by Amsterdam’s free-running community, was opened by Achmed Baâdoud (chairman of the Nieuw West district committee), Ronald Mauer (Nieuw West district committee member responsible for Sports and Sloterplas) and Frans van der Avert (Amsterdam Marketing CEO). The parkour and the physical link with ‘I amsterdam’, the motto of the city and its residents, fits in with Amsterdam’s desire to present itself as a modern city.

The parkour track was designed to incorporate the 3D I amsterdam letters, which previously stood on Museumplein and were in need of replacement after many years of service. The track is made up of elements specifically suitable for free running, such as rods, bars, blocks, walls and surfaces, with a shock-absorbent surface extending across the entire length of the track. Both young and old can enjoy this freely accessible track, where people can develop or hone their urban free-running skills.

About free running

Free running is a spectacular urban sport, which has become very popular in recent years. At its base is running, climbing and jumping to move through the city in a creative way and conquer any obstacles. Because of the elegant movements, free running is almost an art form. The sport also includes BMX racing, skateboarding, breakdancing and tricking (a combination of acrobatics and martial arts). Using the city as their playground, free runners experience the ultimate feeling of freedom, control of their body and strength.

Encouraging sporting activities

Since the 2015-2016 academic year, Sportservice, with its ‘Top Score Amsterdam’ programme (the city’s biggest project to encourage 12- to 18-year-olds to engage in sports), has successfully taught free running to, among other groups, primary school students in Amsterdam’s Nieuw West district. In the run-up to Urban Sports Week Amsterdam this spring, attention to participation in urban sports through Top Score even rose to 75% of local secondary schools. You can watch Top Score’s trailer about free running in Amsterdam here

Developments at Sloterplas

The parkour track is located on the banks of the Sloterplas (and the Sloterpark) in the centre of Amsterdam Nieuw West, near the recently renovated southwest bank. The park and lake form a major recreational area for the 200,000 people living nearby. With 200 hectares, Sloterpark is Amsterdam’s largest park. In the coming years, Sloterplas will be developed into one of the most important recreational areas in Amsterdam: a park surrounding an urban lake with many recreational activities, and a very attractive spot for residents of Amsterdam and beyond. Read more about Sloterplas and Sloterpark here (in Dutch).

The parkour track is an initiative by Sportservice Amsterdam (page in Dutch), Amsterdam Nieuw West, Amsterdam’s free-running community and Amsterdam Marketing. It was designed by OWNERstudios and produced by Griekspoor (page in Dutch).

About I Amsterdam

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