A new housing complex for those with drug addictions is now onsite in Amsterdam. Designed by Atelier Kempe Thill (AKT) on the edge of Bijlmerpark in the central area of Amsterdam-Zuidoost, the facility combines small residential rooms between 15-25 sq m and bright, airy communal spaces. The private rooms centre on a social activity area, or ‘collective living room’, lighted by an attractive rooflight and generous windows overlooking the relaxed external landscaping. An additional small rooftop courtyard provides intimate private reflective space for all residents.
Laws regarding the distribution and use of soft drugs are more lax within the Netherlands than the rest of Europe, where the use and possession of drugs that have ‘limited risks’ - AKA soft drugs - for personal use is largely overlooked and does not carry the risk of prosecution. Conversely, the use and distribution of hard drugs ‘with unacceptable risks involved’ carries a prison sentence of up to twelve years.
It has been argued that this ‘loose’ legislation has led to the reduction of individuals becoming addicted to hard drugs and figures presented in a report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon suggest that Dutch figures are the lowest in Europe. AKT’s new welcoming hotel-style complex is in keeping with the tolerant approach to drugs in Amsterdam, decriminalising the use of such substances and putting the power back in the hands of the people.