Take down the bank

Paleis voor de Volksvlijt

Paleis voor de Volksvlijt

This picture is taken in Amsterdam, over a hundred years ago. It shows the Paleis voor Volksvlijt (Palace for Industry) the work of Samuel Sarphati – a local doctor involved in politics, particularly as a project developer in city planning – who came back from visiting the First World Fair in London in 1851 and had an idea. He wanted to build a modern, impressive exhibition space in Holland, comparable to the Crystal Palace he saw in London: A new ‘palace for art and industry’, he called it.

And thus an enormous construction in which glass and cast iron are prominent features was built, right in the heart of Amsterdam, on the Weteringschans.

During its 65-year history, the Paleis voor Volksvlijt played a considerable role in Amsterdam’s cultural-social life. The emphasis on its activities came, already in the 19th century, to lie in staged productions and entertainment. This palace of ‘industry’ was transformed into a palace of diversion – a public amusement center – whose Main Hall alone could accommodate some 9000 visitors. All of this came to an abrupt end in 1929 by a devastating fire.

When I first heard of it, the story of this magnificent building, capturing the heart of an era, I. Felt. So. Sorry. That I hadn’t seen it, that it was gone. I can stare at the photos for ever, it must have been an amazing space!

Nowadays it’s where the Nederlandse Bank (The Dutch National bank) is located. A building often mentioned as the ugliest around. There is actually a movement trying to have the Palace rebuilt, in the same spot if possible, taking down the bank.

Excellent idea.

 

From Wikipedia, source: Paleis voor Volksvlijt The Amsterdam Crystal Palace (1864–1929): Noble expression of an audacious notion Emile Wennekes 1999 made possible by NWO published by SDU

Every thing on the building, it’s history and possible future is here

About Wilson Tichelaar

relentless hunter gatherer of soothing beauty, great and small
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