Amsterdam: city of architecture and design

Venice of the North

Amsterdam is one of Europe's foremost architecture and design city, famous for its 17th century rings of canals as well as modern architecture. This new collection Amsterdam architecture shows you various examples of architecture in Amsterdam.


The 17th century canal ring area of Amsterdam, has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on August 2010.

The fresh breeze over the water creates beautiful reflections.

Walking at the canals at nighttime, gives you a romantic night scenery as this view on the Hermitage Museum.

Most of the houses are built in 17th century and were the residences of wealthy merchants, craftsmen, doctors, lawyers, politicians, financiers and artists. The houses were and are very narrow, narrow windows, very narrow stairs inside and a pulley outside to transport larger objects to upper floors. Often the residences served as businesses. Canals served as main way to transport the goods. Nowadays, especially during summer the canals are full of boats for tourists and citizens from Amsterdam to enjoy the city from the water.

Classicism, historism and art deco

At the end of the 18th century classicism produced in Amsterdam several monumental buildings.The development of Amsterdam into the modern city at the end of the 19th century resulted in construction of the several landmark city buildings as Central Station, Central Post Office (today rebuilt into a shopping mall Magna Plaza),

Rijksmuseum (State Museum)

, Stedelijk Museum (Municipal Museum), Stadsschouwburg (City Theater), Concertgebouw (City Philharmonic)and St. Nicolaaskerk. The foremost architect of this was P.J.H.Cuypers. Architecture of these building was searching for the historical inspiration, using elements of gothic and renaissance.

The Amercian Hotel is a fine example of the Art Deco style popular at the turn of the 19th century in Europe. Its cafe and wonderful interior is definitely worth a visit.

Hendrik Petrus Berlage

At the beginning of the 20th century an important milestone has been a vast plan of the expansion of Amsterdam into the dimension of the European metropolis, called Plan Zuid (Plan South - 1915) by an architect H.P.Berlage, often regarded as the Father of the Modern Dutch architecture.

Located just near the Dam square the Stock Exchange building (1903, now called Beurs van Berlage and used as exhibition and concert hall) also by the architect Berlage precedes the Amsterdam School style and is often regarded as influential to the whole Dutch architecture of the first half of the 20th.

The Amsterdam School Style

At the beginning of the 20th century, the new housing law in the Netherlands started the boom of the low cost housing for the working class. Most of these quarters were built in a new distinctive style called the Amsterdam School (Dutch: Amsterdamse School). It was first applied by Michel de Kerk is a housing block called Het Schip (The Ship) - today regarded as a monument, with the museum of this architecture style in a former post office.

Functionalism and after

As in many other European countries Dutch architecture after 1920 has been influenced by the ideas of the French architect Le Corbusier. New technologies – use of concrete, prefabrication, standardization as well as strongly emphasized function of the building are characteristic for architecture of this movement. The most important architects were Gerrit Rietveld, Jacobus Oud, Johannes Duiker, Cornelis van Eesteren, Michiel Brinkman and Leendert van der Vlugt. The finest examples of functionalism were, still influenced by the Amsterdam School style housing district Betondorp (1921-1928) and Van Gogh Museum, by Gerrit Rietveld (1963-1973).

Later years (before 1990) brought several different streams in Dutch architecture. The most interesting architects of the 1960-1990 in Amsterdam were Aldo van Eyck, Herman Hertzberger. Still, it may seem that functionalism has been heavily influencing new projects.

Modern Architecture

Modern architecture in the Netherlands after 1990 is one of the most interesting in the world. Interesting realizations include Silodam, the New Islands (Borneo, Java, Sporenburg, KNSM), IJburg. Many Dutch architects who recognized abroad have their works here, including the Rotterdam based star architect Rem Koolhaas, Sjoerd Soeters, Wiel Arets, Benthem & Crouwel, Ben van Berkel, Ton Alberts.

Foreign architects include Renzo Piano (Nemo Museum, called before the New Metropolis),

Sven-Ingvar Andersson (creation of the new Museumplein), Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz (rebuilding of the Rijksmuseum).

Below you see an image of the future entrance hall of Rijksmuseum.

Photo credits: Cbomers.

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October 02, 2011


Amazing! Thank you.

October 01, 2011


One of my favorite places - beautiful pics! Thanks.

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