The Amsterdam municipal archives contain the city’s historical documents, including a historical-cartographic section with millions of maps, drawings, prints, a library and extensive sound, film and photo archives – all stretching to no less than 40 kilometres. The municipal archives literally burgeoned as a result of the various interconnected depots at Amsteldijk. Ultimately, plans were put forward to accommodate the municipal archives in the ABN-Amro’s old head-office at De Bazel. After extensive renovation work at De Bazel, Convoi took on responsibility for this mega-project.

It involved 40,000 metres of shelving and accompanying archives. 5,000 archive racks were also relocated. The archives consisted of a diversity of books, archive boxes, portfolios, film cans, rolls, folders and glass plates, the latter which hold old parchment files in place. An additional challenge was that the move had to go hand in hand with a complete reorganisation of the archiving system. At the old site, different types and formats were mixed up with each other. At the new site they will eventually be reclassified according to type and size.

To minimise disruption in access to the municipal archives, it was Convoi’s task to transfer everything in the space of 40 days. This meant that around 1,000 archive containers, each 1m in length, would be transferred each day, as well as the accompanying racks. In the first instance, the inventory of all archives was adapted to meet the logistical requirements. This was translated into a detailed timetable. A great deal of care centred on the interdependence of the various types of archive, their format and the (re)organisation of racks.

The timetable also included some leeway for possible setbacks and likewise a risk analysis was carried out. Progress of the transfer was monitored every day, so enabling optimum coordination of the various removal flows.

Technical details