Former city defence works redeveloped into an economic viable model by creating an underground parking garage to tackle mobility and urban planning issues.
The restructuring of the Zuiderpark Stadswalzone derives from two main problems: first of all, the inner city faced increasing gridlock and parking issues, and wished to improve the accessibility by both motor vehicles and non-motorised traffic. Secondly, rising waterlevels threatening the historic city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, due to the neglect of the (water) defence works.
By combining underground parking at the rim of the inner city with restoration of heritage assets, as well as increased visibility and experience value, the project has economic viability while also contributing to reintegrating heritage values into the urban fabric. It restores the visibility of an important aspect of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a well-known walled town in Dutch history for the prolonged sieges and the adaptive use of water to protect the city from attacking armies. The parking garage has integrated a small exhibition, that allows for a diachronic vision of both the landscape and the city, from the Late Pleistocene until modern day.
The main stakeholder is the municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, that is both owner of the parking garage as well as the exploiting party. During the construction phase several other agencies were involved, due to the fact that this approach (on this scale) was a perfect test for new techniques. By doing the exploitation themselves, the municipality generates revenue from this unique heritage project, which in turn can be invested in new (heritage) projects.

Resources needed

The overall cost for the redevelopment was over € 43.000.000,--, with a large part of the funding coming from the municipality itself. Additional funding came, among others, from the Province of North-Brabant and the Dutch national heritage agency (RCE).

Evidence of success

Sustainable (re)structuring of the rim of the inner city with a long-term economic viability and increasing visibility of cultural heritage. The aim of functioning as a retaining wall has been achieved, contributing to a better (climate-adaptable) aquatic environment and creating more urban green.

Difficulties encountered

Suction dredging led to problems, as the force of the dredge made archaeological finds slip through the sieve. Fortunately employees of the construction company noticed and the technique was adjusted accordingly.

Potential for learning or transfer

The project safeguards the heritage values and even enhances them, like for example the appropriation of the heritage by the public. The environmental impact is positive, due to restoration of green spaces in the urban fabric as well as opening up water ways, improving the water quality.
The financial sustainability is a textbook example of successful heritage preservation through development. By opting to combine subterranean parking at the edge of the inner city with restoration of cultural heritage values, as well as increased visibility and experience value, the project has economic viability while also contributing to reintegrating both heritage and ecological values in the urban fabric.

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Main institution
Start Date
January 2013
End Date
December 2015


Marieke  Muilwijk Please login to contact the author.