In 1967 Amsterdam organized an international competition to design a city hall. No fewer than 803 proposals were received from all over the world. The designs cast a new, architectural light on the turbulent and much-discussed '60s. They present a 'seat of authority' at a time when power relations were starting to change dramatically. The increasingly powerful democracy movement called for citizen participation and small-scale initiatives. The Provo counterculture movement had made Amsterdam a hotbed of resistance. 1967 was also the year the Mayor of Amsterdam was forced to step down because he had quashed Provo riots too forcefully. Authority in Amsterdam had always been viewed with suspicion. For a century and a half the city had faced "the issue of the city hall", which was solved in half-hearted fashion with the opening of the Stopera. The competition entries place Amsterdam's problems in a broader context. High-tech visions of international and cosmopolitan modernism stand alongside typically West-European small-scale meeting centers. The diversity betrays a crisis in Western culture that still exists.
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Go to the site of the Netherlands Architecture Institute