Up On The Roof…

Not only the Netherlands, but also Amsterdam have to become sustainable. The Sustainability Agenda of the City Councel calls for a consistent city where it is pleasant to live and work. And where, moreover, one can find clean air. And solar panels. But these last ones must all be put on roofs…

Dam Square around 1912, opposite of the Royal Palace there was a phone mast.
Dam Square around 1912, opposite of the Royal Palace there was a phone mast.

Although it is sometimes forgotten putting things on your roof is of all time: chimneys, masts and poles. In the seventeenth century meter high chimneys stood above the rooftops of Amsterdam, just to make a good pull of the fire in the hearth. Chimneys we all know, nowadays they are not as high as before. Forgotten is the time, circa 1900, that telephone poles stood across the city. Poles on the street but also systems atop roofs, which were linked together and made that people could call each other. They had to make auxiliary structures in the roofs, after research now and then one is found. A few years ago such a support structure appeared to be in Prinsengracht 263 in the Secret Annex (Anne Frank’s House). Even on the outside it can still be seen, where once stood a telephone pole in the middle of the roof.

Antenna Register
Antenna Register

Even the overhead power lines are gone. Same goes for television aerials they are hardly been seen. They came when TV started in the 50’s of last century, but now we have other techniques to receive signals. Many disappeared in the course of time in the soil. That doesn’t mean there is nothing on our roofs, the installations are only becoming less and less visible. Only recently satellite dishes appeared everywhere, but they are disappearing rapidly. Phone and mobile antennas are all around us, but almost no one sees them. On the map of the Antenna Register you can see where the antennas are located in the Netherlands / Amsterdam

Installing solar panels on your roof fits into a long line of things on the roof. But this has obvious consequences for the appearance of a building. Especially for monuments, although the panels are not always visible. To assess the effects of solar panels, the Department of Monuments and Archaeology developed a solar map in 2015. These show the roofs in the conservation area of suitable monuments, but still be off view for installing these solar panels. As many as two-thirds of the roofs in the city appears to be appropriate.

Solar panel map of the historical centre of Amsterdam
Solar panel map of the historical centre of Amsterdam

On approximately seventeen thousand plots solar panels could be placed. 11,896 of them have a building of architectural and historical value, 8,863 are actually a monument. On 6,109 are at least on a portion of the roof panels possible, usually because they are flat roofs or because they are not visible from the street. In order subsequently to be able to assess the effectiveness of solar panels, there is a Solar Atlas, on which to find the estimated light output.