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Led by city archaeologist and UvA professor Jerzy Gawronski, archaeologists have made roughly 700,000 finds during the construction of the Noord-Zuidlijn. The results of fifteen years of archaeological research can be viewed in the display cases at Station Rokin, on an interactive website, in the photo catalogue Spui, and in the documentary, Amstel. Spiegel van de Stad.

Findings below the surface of the Noord-Zuidlijn: telephones

Unique archaeological project

The Noord-Zuidlijn route, which officially opens at the end of July 2018, passes through the bed of the Amstel river, which once flowed through the heart of the city. During the construction of the new line, archaeologists had access to the riverbed. A unique site: rivers are rarely, if ever dug up and systematically examined, let alone one’s that flow through the middle of a major city.

The new metro line’s construction sites were studied by an immense team of researchers, at times even fifty-strong. The team included many UvA students from the University’s archaeology programmes, who took part in the digs or conducted research as part of their theses. The project also saw collaborations with other UvA disciplines, namely ecologist Bas van Geel and Jan van Arkel of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.

Findings below the surface of the Noord-Zuidlijn: oral care

Waterfall of discoveries

The excavations in the Amstel resulted in a waterfall of discoveries. With construction taking place around the city, it was the Damrak and Rokin sites that proved to be archaeological gold mines. A grand total of about 700,000 finds were recorded, of which a selection of roughly 10,000 objects will be on permanent display in display cases at Station Rokin.

Information about these as well as the other findings will be made available online via the interactive website,, where visitors can compose their very own display cases. Additionally, the photo catalogue Spui contains a selection of more than 13,000 photographs that showcase the day to day lives of Amsterdammers throughout the ages.

Findings below the surface of the Noord-Zuidlijn: bones


An AT5 film crew shadowed the archaeologists as they conducted their research in the construction sites of the Noord-Zuidlijn. Watch the resulting documentary, Amsterdal. Spiegel van de Stad, below.