What is the economic future of Amsterdam? ‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt 2016’ is a public exhibition on the economic future of the Amsterdam region, organised during the Dutch presidency of the European Union spring 2016. The palace is an initiative of Zef Hemel, professor of Urban and Regional Planning (Wibaut Chair) at the University of Amsterdam and member of the Centre for Urban Studies.

Urban regions are preeminent motors of economic development. Fruitful economic initiatives are born especially on occasions where entrepreneurs, research institutes, non profit organizations, students, artists, citizens and governments meet each other: platforms. These platforms are also called ‘collaborative commons’. It is this exactly this kind of platform what ‘The people’s industry palace 2016’ aims to be.  By bringing together people from different backgrounds and expertises, enabling them to share knowledge and build connections, urban future perspectives are developed which will boost a new economy in the city of Amsterdam.

Paleis voor Volksvlijt

Originally, ‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt’ was an initiative by Samuel Sarphati who, after having visited the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, set up the  Vereeniging voor Volksvlijt, and later on was the initiator for building the ‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt’, intended for idealistic and educational exhibits: “a temple dedicated to ingenuity and educational enrichment”. Unfortunately, the Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1929.

Opening and events

‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt 2056’ will take place in the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA) and will officially be opened April 12, 2016. The palace will be open for 12 weeks until July 4, 2016. During this period everyone is invited to participate in all kinds of events related to the economic future of the city of Amsterdam that are organized, ranging from a special primary school program, to workshops, to artist exhibitions, to PhD seminars.

The Centre for Urban Studies will contribute to ‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt’ in various ways. First of all, a public seminar on the ‘Future of the city’ will be organized. Next to this, a series of public seminars will take place called ‘Digging the City’ (Stadgraven) in which PhD’s of the Centre for Urban Studies will present their research on the city. Last but not least, the Urban Studies research master students will organize a special seminar on the future of the city.


The exact programme will follow as soon as possible. Website (Dutch): www.volksvlijt.amsterdam


Please contact the coordinator Caroline Combé, C.Combe@amsterdam.nl in case you have any questions related to the program.