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Architecture Tips (27)

No curtains

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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betako3
Aug 19, 2007

Pictures instead of Words

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!

Mariajoy
Feb 19, 2006

Can you guess what it is?

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.

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aaaarrgh
Jul 09, 2005

XXX

What do the three crosses that we see everywhere represent?
The crosses featured on the Amsterdam coat of arms and on the Amsterdammetjes (see phallic-like poles) represent Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Amsterdam. He was condemned by the church as a heretic and crucified, hence the three inverted crosses. Why three crosses? Each cross represents, and should protect Amsterdam from, the three disasters the city has endured for centuries. Floods (fought with windmills), the plague, and fires (especially in the 1500’s).

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phi78
Oct 30, 2004
 
 
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Amsterdammertjes, phallic-like poles.

What are these phallic-like poles along the roadside for?
Called Amsterdammertjes, they’re for tourists to walk into and look silly. Guys in particular should watch out, since these things are at just the right height in most cases to deliver a potentially damaging impact between the legs. They are actually there to help separate cars from pedestrians. The Dutch feel so strongly about these objects of affection that they managed to get over 50,000 signatures on a petition opposing government plans to remove them.

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phi78
Oct 30, 2004

Typical houses

Many houses in Amsterdam are very small because they used to pay taxes according to the width of their façade. So they built there homes very small but deep.

On the gable you will notice a pulley. As the stairs were very narrow and steep it was impossible to get the goods and furniture inside this way, so every house has a pulley on the outside to lift the goods.

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Helga67
Oct 24, 2004

Historical Houses

Characteristically the city centre of Amsterdam consists of separate houses; each house with its own roof, front door and facade. We usually distinguish between ordinary single houses (3 bays, total width 25-30 feet, i.e. 7-8.5 metres, with the front door placed to one side but often in the middle in the case of 17th century houses) and double houses. Kloveniersburgwal 29 and Keizersgracht 177 are "king-size" houses which in fact belong to the category of two houses sharing one facade.

Another common distinction applies to the function of the houses. Merchants' houses are characterised by top floors designed to serve as storage space for commodities, whereas mansions were built for residential purposes only. Most of the Amsterdam houses come under the first heading. However, even though the houses were conceived as separate entities, together they form a unified whole because of the harmony in size and proportions that can be observed throughout the city centre. This is one of the reasons why the Amsterdam city centre is such a unique and rare whole. Merchants’ houses are by definition canal houses. Characteristic features of such houses are attics and cellars which served as storage space for the commodities which were transported by boat. It is true to say that trade determined the Amsterdam cityscape; water being an essential feature.
The style of the facade is one way of dating canal houses. However, a word of warning is in order for a house may be younger or older than its facade. In the 18th and 19th centuries the facades were often replaced by more modern ones, whereas in our days it is not uncommon to retain the historical facade and build a new house behind it. Besides, most of the windows had to be replaced in the course of the lifetime of the houses. One rarely finds a 17th century house in possession of its original cross-bar windows. Even 18th century window frames largely disappeared, although many of them are reconstructed as part of restoration projects.

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isolina_it
May 14, 2003

Hooks at Houses

In case you wondered: The houses in Amsterdam don't have hooks at the top because Holland is full of suicidal people. It's because the staircases are really steep and narrow - just imagine moving houses with a piano!

sabsi
Feb 14, 2003

Top 5 Amsterdam Writers

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pieter_jan_v

"MY BIRTHPLACE"
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jo104

"God made the Dutch, but the Dutch made Holland"
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Mariajoy

"Amsterdam - I love it!"
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ATLC

"Amsterdam, is it real?"
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Pavlik_NL

"Amsterdam, where the Dutch money is spend"
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Most buildings in the center...

Most buildings in the center are more than 100 years old, most of them are inclined over the ages because of the wery watery soil. The architecture is very typical, one could say, every house is a monument...

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Cyklon
Aug 26, 2002

Gable stones part 8.

Please keep exploring my gablestone pages on the local Amsterdam section.

These unique stones are to good to walk by.

So, not only keep your eyes on the street, but also at the houses too!

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pieter_jan_v
Sep 24, 2015

Never ending; Gable stones

Even beyond more gablestones, there are more gable jewels to admire.

Just take a different route on each of your Amsterdam explorations.

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pieter_jan_v
Sep 24, 2015

Beyond even more Gablestones and further

This series of gable stone pictures still continues. Amsterdam is such a rich source for these, that I'm sure I will discover more in the old city.

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pieter_jan_v
Sep 17, 2015

Things To Do in Amsterdam

Things to do

De Krijtberg

Officially dedicated to St Francis Xavier, De Krijtberg is another Catholic church in Amsterdam. The actual elegant Neogothic edifice was constructed in 1883 by the architect Alfred Tepe. The church's...
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Things to do

Flower Market - Bloemenmarkt

New Year's is certainly not the season to visit a flower market, so Bloemenmarkt was not super exciting when I was there in late December 2014. There were definitely flowers being sold along with...
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Things to do

Begijnhof - The Wooden House

The Begijnhof - Beguinage in Amsterdam is certainly a pleasant and quiet part of the old city but as a beguinage I felt surprised by the architectural heterogeneity of this ensemble! Maybe I am too...
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Things to do

Allard Pierson Museum

Allard Pierson Museum is the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam. The museum is housed in a nice classical building formerly from the Nederlandsche Bank. Allard Pierson was a...
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Things to do

Bijbels Museum

Biblical Museum. Located on Herengracht in a group of stately mansions called the Cromhouthuizen. I was impressed by their collection of Bibles, and the model of the Temple Mount. "Archaeological...
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Things to do

Kalverstraat

If you're into shopping, you might want to check out this street. There are plenty of shops here selling so many things for men and women. The only traffic here are tourists! Lots of them. In fact,...
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