In the years around the millennium the skateboard scene in Amsterdam was in a deplorable state… the Third Floor skatepark had closed it’s doors, the Museumplein vert and miniramp were torn down and the Bridgeramp burnt to the ground because of a homeless person’s barbecue that got a little out of control… skateboarders were left to skate the streets around the Nederlandse Bank, the Biobanks and in case of rain skaters flocked to either the Passage at the Damrak or the Weesperplein metrostation.

Then one day in the fall of ’99 the last remaining legendary skatespot, the ‘Jordaanbanks’ at the Karthuizerplantsoen, got demolished as well. Local skateboarders got fed up and found out who was responsible for this area. After various meetings with city council  representative Wouter Kleinlooh they had made it clear that Amsterdam was in dire need of adequate infrastructure for skaters. Something had to be done…

the ‘old’ design for the Marnixbowl with streetcourse & skateable bicycle tunnel

Skateboarder Benny Komala, city council representative Wouter Kleinlooh, Carve designer Mark vd Eng and project initiator Stan Postmus looking bummed that back in 2003 there was no funding for the Marnixbowl yet.

The playground at the Eerste Marnixplantsoen was outdated and served a purpose mostly for homeless people and other ‘less desirable activities’. This dysfunctional space was the most likely location to build something for the skaters. Wouter formalized the need for new skatefriendly infrastructure and created goodwill within his organization to allocate funds to make it possible. Having just finished their design work for the Hoofddorp park at the Raadhuisplein Carve was assigned to make a proposal for the re-design of the Eerste Marnixplantsoen. Working together with the projectinitiator the first design for the Marnix project included a pool with a spine and a streetcourse with a skateable bicycle tunnel but this plan was too ambitious and costly. Also, the bowl had an unmistakeable phallic shape which can’t have done much good for the political support in this stage of the project. For the redesign local skateboarders were invited to share their ideas and input to optimize this project even though it had to be scaled down. The final version of the design consists of roughly 600m2 with the entire street course & bicycle tunnel deleted, leaving ‘only’ the current bowl with platform & steel benches.

With the apartment complex across the street in the Marnixstraat being renovated there was little to no support for this project from the direct neighbors. In november 2004 when the project budget was being discussed by the city council the (future) owners handed over their signatures pleading against the arrival of the new skatebowl. By explaining how the skate bowl would be of added value for the direct neighbourhood instead of what some feared would become a no-go area local skater Stan provided the city council with enough convincing arguments:
it expressed their unanimous support for this project!

The Eerste Marnixplantsoen during construction May 2005

Finally, no fewer than six years after it’s inception the Marnixbowl was built in May 2005. Much to everyone’s surprise more then a couple of human remains showed up during construction due to this location being used as a graveyard up until 1866. Since it’s completion the bowl has seen countless unforgettable sessions with people coming from all over the world to shred the Marnixbowl. Notable names include people like Tony Hawk, Grant Taylor, Chris & Zach Miller, Pedro Barros and Alex Sorgente but this list could go on and on… due to it’s modular construction the bowl needed some repair & maintenance in 2016 and it’s been doing better than ever before ever since. Go ahead, drop on by the Eerste Marnixplantsoen and get some, the Marnixbowl is waiting for you…