Architecture, Amsterdam

27 Reviews

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  • Seriously wonky chimney
    Seriously wonky chimney
    by leics
  • Holding up the gables
    Holding up the gables
    by leics
  • Wonky doorway
    Wonky doorway
    by leics

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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    More Gable stones

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Nov 15, 2015

    Just keeping looking up to those nice old houses and their history. It's just amazing that it's a thing of all centuries. It's like a living history book, where the Amsterdam streets are the pages and the houses the lines.

    't Vergulde Fortuyn Lady Ostrich Coffee pack Holland West-Africa shipping co.
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    Signs of the tradesmen

    by pieter_jan_v Written Nov 8, 2015

    The Jordaan city quarter was developed to house the many tradesmen the city needed, when trading developed in the Golden Age. At the Lindengracht there are gable sign that still reflects the old trades.

    Schilder Smit Stucadoor Steenhouwer Grondwerker
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    Even More Gable stones

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Oct 11, 2015

    The number of Gable Stones looks unlimited!

    The more I take photo's of these stones, the more I think of designing an easy walking route for visitors to Amsterdam interested in the subject and the history of the houses.

    Swaanen drift 1571 Morelle Boom De Maenne Schyn At the Prinsengracht - Amsterdam
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    Gable stones part 9

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Oct 11, 2015

    Just another series of Amsterdam Gable stones. This is just a tip of one in a row.
    I recommend to just take a four hours walk in the Amsterdam canal belt and a part of the Jordaan city quarter. Even the RLD has some nice gable stones.

    Die Blicmant At the Waag on the Nieuwmarkt square
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    The first Amsterdam Coat of Arms

    by pieter_jan_v Written Sep 15, 2015

    There is an old (unconfirmed) story that Amsterdam was founded by two men who arrived at the mouth of Amstel river after the land was flooded by storms.

    The two men with their dog in a boat still can be found at some Amsterdam gables.

    At the Karthuizer hofje - Amsterdam At the Beurs - Amsterdam
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    Beyond even more Gablestones

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Sep 11, 2015

    The Central Station stone reads:

    Daar Vonkt een dierbre gloed
    in eigen huis en haard
    Neemt men vandaar zijn vlucht
    met sterk gespierde vleuglen
    De wijze weet zijn kracht
    te vieren en de teuglen
    Hij kent de weelde hem
    in 't welkom thuis bewaard

    Central Station gable stone De Hoop (Hope) IN DEN OVEN * SAMSON St. Jacob - Amsterdam Papenbrugsteeg - Amsterdam
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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Middle class architecture.

    by breughel Updated Jan 29, 2015

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    If I wrote somewhere enthusiast reviews about architecture in France, Italy, Spain, England, I don't feel motivated by the architecture of Amsterdam. Certainly very typical but nothing monumental as one sees along the avenues of Paris, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Budapest or Venice.

    The houses of Amsterdam are very "middle class" for the simple reason I think that they were not build by noblemen who wanted to show their power and richness like in the other European countries but by the merchants of a Calvinist republic.
    No Versailles, no Buckingham Palace, no Schönbrunn in Amsterdam!
    The citizens of the Gouden Eeuw were actually working hard, discreet about their money, preferring to decorate the inside of their houses with these wonderful Dutch paintings and porcelain decorative objects.

    Much of the Amsterdam canal houses were built in or after the 17th century. These townhouses or merchant houses served as a residence as well as a workshop. They are often characterized by the facade and entrance, the door above the stairs was for high visit, the door under the stairs for staff and vendors. Because space was scarce, the houses are often narrow and high, with a lifting beam just below the roof furniture. Furthermore as the city was built on piles in the mud it is not surprising that so many houses have problems with verticality.
    On an evening I made a walk along the Prinsengracht to take photos of some of these houses. I wonder how people live in such houses with floors that are far from horizontal.

    Houses Prinsengracht. Houses Prinsengracht. Houses Prinsengracht.
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    HOISTING BEAMS

    by pieter_jan_v Written Sep 29, 2013

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    One thing you will see on many Amsterdam houses are hoisting beams with a hook.
    As most of the canal houses have small steep stairs, furniture and other large objects have to be hoisted in front of the house and loaded via the window.

    Don't be surprised to see a rope hanging from the top to street level. The chance is something BIG has to be moved.

    Watch the rope hanging from the top Hoisting beams - Amsterdam Hoisting beams - Amsterdam Hoisting beams - Amsterdam Hoisting beams - Amsterdam
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  • leics's Profile Photo

    How to cope with wonkiness.....

    by leics Written Apr 7, 2013

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    I'd noted on my first visit that many of the older buildings in Amsterdam's historical centre were 'wonky': slightly out of true. That is hardly surprising, given the city's high water-table and resulting soft soil plus the fact that many (?most?) of the older buildings were constructed on wooden pilings.

    But those buildings are historically important and, I suspect, there are rules and regulations about exactly what can and cannot be done to them in terms of modernisation and general building work. I'm no builder but I imagine there are times when under-pinning the foundations with concrete has been essential. That is probably what keeps those buildings which are very 'wonky' still standing.

    I noticed that the very impressive gables ..built simply towers of brick with nothing supporting them...are now often tied to the building structure by metal rods.

    The most extreme example of 'coping with wonkiness' that I spotted was the chimney in the main photo. It's amazing that it's still standing at all but the network of metal strips and rods is presumably holding it safely in position. I hope!

    When you think about it, building in stone on such land (from the late 1500s onwards) is pretty impressive engineering, as was the draining of so much land by the use of dykes and ditches. The Dutch had a very good reputation as land engineers. That's why so many...including Cornelius Vermuyden....were involved in draining the Fens in East Anglia (UK) during the mid 1600s.

    It's clear they are still equally adept at stabilising buildings and structures on land which is prone to subsidence.

    Seriously wonky chimney Holding up the gables Wonky doorway Wonky roofline
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    Gables and Gablestones

    by pieter_jan_v Written May 22, 2011

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    The Amsterdam gables hide many things of beauty.

    Take time to explore the walls of the houses.

    The gablestones are being protected by the "Vereniging Vrienden van Amsterdamse Gevelstenen".

    Phone: +31-20-6791805

    Website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vvag/

    Amsterdam gable Begijnhof entrance De gekroonde Stang ALLE TIJD
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    Hooks

    by Dabs Written Jul 14, 2008

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    As we were traveling through the canals, they pointed out that most of the houses had hooks suspended from the top of them called hijsbalk, used with a rope and pulley to hoist large, heavy items in and out of homes that have steep, narrow staircases.

    Hooks

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    Narrowest house in the world

    by csordila Updated Mar 4, 2008

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    The narrowest house in the world is to be found on the Singel, no.7. Only one metre in breadth, it is barely wider than the front door. The people who live there have to be slim! However in the reality only the front side is so narrow. Behind this facade the house broadens out to more normal dimensions.

    Yet the narrowest house in Europe is still to be found in Amsterdam on Oude Hoogstraat 22, between the Dam and the Nieuwmarkt. This house is 2.02m wide and 6.0 metres deep. Another narrow house is located nearby, on the Kloveniersburgwal 26, Mr Trip's Coachman's House, 2.44m wide. This latest one is very special, because its location is opposite of the widest house (26m) of Amsterdam.

    Singel 7 Kloveniersburgwal 26 Oude Hoogstraat 22
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  • betako3's Profile Photo

    No curtains

    by betako3 Written Aug 19, 2007

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    Have you noticed that most houses in Holland haven't got any curtains in the windows? Or anything else to protect their privacy from a stranger's eyes? I can find some argument for such arrangement on the upper floors: curtains block sunlight which is scarse most of the year, and it takes effort and time to wash them. But what about the basement? Aren't people who live there embarrassed or angry when people from the street peep into their lives?! I for myself sometimes felt embarrassed to pass and more or less involutarily look inside.

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  • Pictures instead of Words

    by Mariajoy Updated Feb 19, 2006

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    These plaques once indicated to local Amsterdammers where the chemist/apotheke was situated... the man has a pill on his tongue! I guess in the old days few people were literate and pictures and symbols would have been necessary. I am so glad that a few of these have been preserved for posterity!

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    Can you guess what it is?

    by aaaarrgh Written Jul 9, 2005

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    Clearly, the people of Amsterdam are incredibly generous to one another. This is the biggest present I have ever seen!! And beautifully gift wrapped!!!

    Imagine finding this waiting for you on your birthday. Somehow I don't think it is a pair of socks, or a box of chocolates :-))

    House seen on the Herengracht (Centrum), yeah, ok, it is probably a generous attempt to hide scaffolding tubes and building work, next to one of the most scenic canals in Amsterdam.

    super-size gift wrap
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