Damsterdiep Marina

The Damsterdiep channel was dug in 1424 from Eems to Groningen. An intersection with the Van Starckenborgkanaal canal was later created outside the city . Even then, this was an isolated place for a marina. Since then, the city has moved closer with the diverse Damsterbuurt neighbourhood. The Eemskanaalzone is an extremely large area that is undergoing development, and we believe the marina can become a unique centre.

The section of the Damsterbuurt neighbourhood

Aside from the marina, it is also an industrial heritage site, and includes the COVA chimney which was a source of inspiration for the scale of the urban fabric and architecture of the buildings. You could read the design as a business quarter where a constellation of volumes and characters, which at first sight are incomprehensible, have come into being over the years. The basis for a publicly accessible, pedestrian area. This strategy supports a relaxed phasing and layered architecture.

Inner city growth

We are increasing the density of the city by transforming this business park into a versatile residential and commercial mixed-use area. It contributes to the environmental strategy that anticipates a growth of 20,000 homes and 15,000 jobs.

There is considerable scope for a social and civic programme in this new neighbourhood. We need these facilities to boost the area, and the location deserves them so that it belongs to all residents of Groningen.

An interesting study within this plan could be car parking on the storeys. The mid-rise buildings in the harbour could be connected in an industrial style which would allow a parking layer to be created. This layer has a full shell, in other words it has a standard height and could be converted to another function over time.


This place is exceptionally suited to live up to the ambitions of the Municipality of Groningen, namely, enhancing the green areas and connecting these to the city and the region. The varied design of the public space enables the green areas and water to be more easily reached and experienced.

This is all based on the use of that space. The allocation of private gardens here will not be the principal part. Rather, it is the shared living environment that gives the pedestrian area weight and multiformity.

There is a large, semi-sunken car park that can be connected to the neighbouring plot. This provides a clear signal – full space for cyclists, pedestrians, and boats. The bicycle is the prime means of transport in Groningen, and this can be clearly seen in this plan.

  • commission: development area
  • location: Groningen
  • client: Highbrook
  • project management: Highbrook
  • programme: residential building, commercial areas, offices, sport
  • floor area: 2.1ha.
  • design: 2018