Amsterdam Sights


Built toward the end of the nineteenth century for those working at the new harbours nearby. Squares were laid out only once the new Housing Act required adjustment of the street plan.

The Spaarndammerplantsoen became a green oasis amid the brick surroundings. From 1913 onward the adjacent construction was entrusted to the young contractor Klaas Hille, who was more ambitious than most of his colleagues. His architect, De Klerk, presented a special design transforming the standard rows of small, bleak dwellings into broad, palatial proletarian brick residences in striking colours.

When the building crisis brought on by the First World War prevented Hille from continuing his work after the first block, the municipality assigned the second project to the housing association Eigen Haard.

Hille and Eigen Haard shared the commission for the famous third block Het Schip at the Spaarndammerplantsoen. On a truly impossible triangular lot, De Klerk moulded the most bizarre shapes into an unforgettable and world-famous unit. While the construction was highly controversial, the block was put up in all its ex-centricity. Regarding its importance, Jos Keppler has noted: 'Admirers of Het Schip are not imbued with retrospective nostalgia. This building makes a statement for social housing construction; it encourages us to continue building with respect for the residents.'

The post office built in the tip of Het Schip was designed as such by De Klerk. The postal services expanded rapidly amid the rising affluence at the start of the twentieth century, building and letting new post offices everywhere. The opportunity to enter a prestigious new development was too good to miss. In addition to designing the gables, De Klerk planned the interior of the post office, including the stained glass and the clock on the wall. The area is truly astounding: where else would an arched, rectangular ceiling cover an irregular, trapezoid surface? Or would we find an otherwise open space bisected by a row of gaping but prominent booths? The deep violet alongside the lavender, recaptured in the most recent restoration, is similarly remarkable. The care with which the post office was restored enables us to admire De Klerk's only fully preserved interior design in all its glory.

nearby Attractions

Museum Het Schip
Noordermarkt (Biological food market)
Pianola Museum
West India House   former headquarters of the Dutch WIC


nearby HOTELS

Amsterdam School

Visit Museum Het Schip for highlights of Amsterdam School architecture

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