Buildings of the Amsterdam School in Amsterdam

Part Two: Apartment Buildings


17. Hille House

Gabriël Metsustraat 22-34 & Nicolaas Maesstraat 32-34
Michel de Klerk, 1911-1912

This apartment building, named after its developer, Klaas Hille, was one of the first independent works of Michel de Klerk. It has a long façade consisting of units on Gabriël Metsustraat, a short façade on Nicolaas Maesstraat, and a palace-like side façade on Johannes Vermeerplein. Unity between the three façades is created most notably by the first-floor balcony. The year of construction is shown in the angular stones above the dormer windows on Johannes Vermeerplein. These windows are surrounded by expressive brickwork. The arrival of the Amsterdam School can also seen in the corbels of the balcony and the design of the entrances (see the font of the apartment numbers). Over the years, some original elements have disappeared from the façades.




18. Yellow Block

Spaarndammerplantsoen 33-103, Zaanstraat 197-204 & Wormerveerstraat 17-19
Michel de Klerk, 1914-1918

This apartment block, commissioned by Klaas Hille and designed by Michel de Klerk, shows a variety of decorative details, but to me its most attractive feature is the clean surface of yellow brick around the corner of Spaarndammerplantsoen and Zaanstraat. Here we also see an entrance with an attractive door, on the both sides of which there are sections of walls covered with gray bricks. A bit further away on the both sides are stairs with a brick parapet, at the bottom of which is a circular element and on top of which is a wrought-iron handrail curving like a snake. In the upper part of the corner is an abstract brick relief.


The vertical emphasis of the building is created by the protruding cylindrical volumes of the staircases. These are partly covered with red tiles and form a whole with thinner cylindrical volumes running in parallel as well as turrets. The corner of Spaarndammerplantsoen and Wormerveerstraat is covered by a huge parabolic dome-like structure. Near the latter one sees a wooden bay window with the year 1918 painted on its bottom. There are windows and doors of different shapes on different parts of the façades. Bricks are laid in various ways as well.


On the rear façade the dominant features are long rows of balconies and large parabolic windows.


19. Het Schip

Oostzaanstraat 1-93, Hembrugstraat 257-305, Zaanstraat 209-239 & Spaarndammerplantsoen
Michel de Klerk, 1917-1921

This social housing complex is the masterpiece of Michel de Klerk. It is widely considered to be the most important example of the Amsterdam School. It is a huge block of apartments with the shape reminiscent of a ship, which is also its unofficial (official?) name. Its four façades are richly decorated, showing various materials, shapes, textures and colours. However, each façade has its own character.

The long Oostzaanstraat façade consists of units of different heights, is laid with red, brown and grey bricks, and shows many bulges and sharp edges.



This side includes a school building, which stood here before and was integrated into the rest of the structure by an upper storey. The most striking element here is a richly decorated stone relief at the bottom of the half-cylinder above the entrance to the school. It was designed by Hildo Krop, like the other sculptures of the complex.


The unit at the corner with Hembrugstraat has an undulating roof line, horizontal corner windows with vertical brick supports and horizontal rods, and deeply recessed entrances flanked by vertically placed gray and green bricks.





In the middle of Hembrugstraat the façades recede, creating a square in front of it. Here we see the most photographed feature of the block: the red-brick turret.





At the corner of Hembrugstraat and Zaanstraat is a bay window in the shape of a cigar.


The long Zaanstraat façade has a strong horizontal emphasis, which gives it a dynamic look, correspinding to the railway track running in parallel across the street. The entrances have a completely different look here.



On the Spaarndammerplantsoen side there were spaces for a post office in a lower volume. The narrow façade has a rounded end at one corner, reminiscent of the ship’s bow. Notable, too, are the large elliptical windows of the post office.



The block has a big courtyard, accessible from the school building. Here one finds the community building and can also admire the turret from the other side.



A smaller courtyard can be accessed through a gate at the beginning of Oostzaanstraat, behind the post office.


Today, Museum Het Schip operates in the building. The museum is entirely dedicated to the Amsterdam School movement.




20. De Dageraad

Original blocks (east): Pieter Lodewijk Takstraat 1-31, Burgemeester Tellegenstraat 130-198, Talmastraat 1-12, Henriëtte Ronnerstraat 2-42 & Henriëtte Ronnerplein 46-110

Extension blocks (east): Henriëtte Ronnerstraat 44-54 & Henriëtte Ronnerplein 2-44

Original blocks (west): Pieter Lodewijk Takstraat 2-32, Burgemeester Tellegenstraat 60-128, Willem Passtoorsstraat 26-36, Thérèse Schwartzestraat 1-13 & Thérèse Schwartzeplein 15-33

Extension blocks (west): Thérèse Schwartzestraat 15-17 & Thérèse Schwartzeplein 1-13

Original blocks: Michel de Klerk & Pieter Lodewijk Kramer, 1918-1923
Extension blocks: Pieter Lodewijk Kramer, 1926-1931

In the original plan of Amsterdam South by Hendrik Berlage, this area was designated for an academic hospital. When it turned out that the hospital preferred another location, a housing complex for the Dageraad workers’ cooperative was built here instead. This is considered to be one of the highlights of public housing in Amsterdam, and one of the best examples of the Amsterdam School of architecture.

The complex consists of two large blocks on the both sides of the Pieter Lodewijk Takstraat. The blocks are symmetrical and, to a large extent, identical. They have seven wings, each connected to the neighbouring wings at an angle. The façades of the wings have a horizontal orientation, while at the junctions there is usually a vertical accent.

The architects of the complex were Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer. De Klerk most probably designed the street walls on Takstraat and the two squares (Henriëtte Ronnerplein and Thérèse Schwartzeplein), while Kramer may be the author of the two famous towers at the corners of Takstraat and Burgemeester Tellegenstraat.



The other towers are not less striking.




Most apartments have recessed entrances with doors and windows in the style of the Amsterdam School.



The complex was slightly modified in the late 1920s and early 1930s by Kramer. He changed some details such as the windows on Takstraat, which got new frames and some of which were enlarged.


Furthermore, one corner of the both squares had originally been left empty, as two schools were planned to be built there later. When those plans were called off, the two plots were filled with apartment blocks as well. The extension blocks have simple repetitive façades. These stand in contrast with the perpendicular blocks designed by De Klerk, which are more plastic and show a more diverse use of materials and colours.

Some sculptural elements are a part of the design of the blocks, such as the reliefs by John Rädecker under the towers. The name of the cooperative can be seen in various places as well.


The spaces of a shop on Burgemeester Tellegenstraat 128 is currently used by the Museum Het Schip.


21. Apartment Block on Lutmastraat, Mauvestraat, Talmastraat & Burgemeester Tellegenstraat

Lutmastraat 136-178, Mauvestraat 2-14, Talmastraat 1-43 & Burgemeester Tellegenstraat 200-230
Arnoldus Ulricus Ingwersen & Tjeerd Kuipers, 1919-1923

This apartment block, located next to the Dageraad complex, has imposing corner solutions with high receding volumes. The attic floor is covered with gray shingles. The staircases have an S-shaped parapet wall.




22. Apartment Block on Amstelveenseweg, Stadionweg, Turnerstraat, Sportstraat, Olympiaweg & Stadionweg

Amstelveenseweg 215-255, Olympiakade 52-60, Turnerstraat 2-10, Sportstraat 22-74, Olympiaweg 122-126 & Stadionweg 322-334
Arnoldus Ulricus Ingwersen, Tjeerd Kuipers & Ernst Adolph Christiaan Roest, 1919-1923

This huge apartment block near the Olympic Stadium boasts with exquisite brickwork around the entrances and windows, elegant third-floor balconies made of concrete and wood, and the original shingle covering of external walls of the attic floors and the bay windows. The team behind it was the same who built and designed the apartment block between Lutmastraat, Mauvestraat, Talmastraat and Burgemeester Tellegenstraat, which explains the stylistic similarities.







23. Apartment Blocks on Vrijheidslaan, Kromme Mijdrechtstraat & Meerhuizenplein

Vrijheidslaan 8-46 & 48-54, Kromme Mijdrechtstraat 1-3 & 2-4, Meerhuizenplein 7-11 & 34-38
Michel de Klerk, 1921-1923

The Amstellaan (today’s Vrijheidslaan) was a major axis in the plan for Amsterdam South by Berlage. The blocks here were not designed in their entirety by one architect. Instead, the blocks were divided between different architects, who also designed the façades of the blocks across the side streets. This created a visual continuity on both sides of the side streets. On the façades of the blocks, each architect had to connect their design to that of the architect responsible for the adjacent part of the block.

This building is the most striking on the Vrijheidslaan. Its dominant element is the long succession of balconies in the shape of a zigzag. The balconies on different floors are connected to each other by sturdy bow windows. On Kromme Mijdrechtstraat, the balconies wrap around the corner and stretch towards the Meerhuizenplein. They are the main feature that joins together all the three façades. On the Meerhuizenplein, at the beginning of the Kromme Mijdrrechtstraat, there are strongly protruding volumes with a semicircular profile on the ground floor (originally shops). These further emphasise the dynamism created by the balconies. The rest of the wall is relatively bare and flat, with exceptional bow windows and bending surfaces.

It was hard to find tenants for the apartments in this block, as these were either too expensive for the workers or too small for the wealthy. To make the apartments more attractive, emphasis was put on a better lighting. Consequently, in 1934, the balconies over a large part of the Vrijheidslaan were lowered and the windows were enlarged and laid out in a simpler way. Today, the façades on Kromme Mijdrechstraat are the closest to the original.





24. Apartment Blocks on Vrijheidslaan, Vechtstraat & Rijnstraat

Vrijheidslaan 56-78 & 80-88, Vechtstraat 58 & 61, Rijnstraat 59
Jouke Zietsma, 1921-1923

These two blocks are in many ways similar. Their façades show the use of the same types of bricks: red-brown on the balconies and yellow elsewhere. Parts of the façades curve outward or upward, and the corners are rounded. Notable are the windows with pointed arches, especially on the main façade of the west block, where they still have a decorated central column and an Expressionist rod distribution. The east block is more repetitive. It is divided into units by thick engaged columns, which support balconies on both sides on the first, second and third floors.




25. Apartment Block on Bronckhorststraat, Bartholomeus Ruloffsstraat & Johan M. Coenenstraat

Bronckhorststraat 11-37, Bartholomeus Ruloffstraat 15-19 & Johan M. Coenenstraat 8-24
Jan Frederik Staal, 1922-1923

This apartment block has strikingly different façades. The one on Bronckhorststraat shows the features of the Amsterdam School, such as protruding cylindrical volumes with vertical stained-glass windows (stairwell) and curving sections of the wall with windows (kitchen). A similar protrusion can be found in the middle of the Bartholomeus Ruloffsstraat façade. On Johan M. Coenenstraat, however, the straight horizontal line dominates, announcing the arrival of the New Objectivity. Notable elements here include horizontal balcony frames and vertical frames of the stairwells painted in blue. At the corner between Johan M. Coenenstraat and Bartholomeus Ruloffsstraat the two styles meet: the curves represent the Amsterdam School, while the arrangement of the volumes points to the New Objectivity.




26. Cooperative Court

Coöperatiehof 1-35, Burgemeester Tellegenstraat 1-59, Henrick de Keijserplein 22-54 & Lutmastraat 134
Pieter Lodewijk Kramer, 1923-1928

The architect of this apartment block was Piet Kramer, who designed it in harmony with the Dageraad complex, located across the street. The structure consists of two rings around a circular courtyard. The outer ring is higher and is accessed via gates. The lower ring is lower and has a rural character. The both rings show a number of features of the Amsterdam School.


The most outstanding building of the inner ring is the public reading room. It is made up of rectangular volumes with horizontal grid windows of various sizes and has a high tent-shaped roof. Above the entrance is a decorated stone by Jan Trapman, depicting seven books or scrolls (cf. the Medieval artes liberales). The building is crowned by a beautiful bell tower with lead cladding, also designed by Piet Kramer.


At the back of the reading room, on the square with the towers of the Dageraad complex, is a momument dedicated to Jan Willem Cornelis Tellegen, the Major of Amsterdam in 1915-1921 (designed by Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer).


27. Apartment Block with Shops on Van Speijkstraat

Van Speijkstraat 119-161
Jouke Zietsma, 1924

This block is the work of Jouke Zietsma, who also designed the apartment block on Vrijheidslaan 80-88. The similarity of the design of the pointed windows on the both blocks is apparent. The façade is, otherwise, flat and austere. Long vertical brick protrusions with a triangular profile separate the units from each other, but not on the entire façade.


The shop fronts on the ground floor show vertically placed black tiles, arrow-like ornaments in red and stained-glass windows.


28. Oldenhoeck Apartment Building

Jacob Obrechtstraat 67
Philip Anne Warners, 1924-1926

This was the first luxury apartment building in Amsterdam. It contains spacious apartments, offices, a studio, a garage, and a tennis court.

There are bay windows on the sides of the façade. The entrance, located in the middle of the façade, is slightly recessed. It has a beautiful door in the style of the Amsterdam School, with the name of the building in cast-iron letters above it.


The central hall of the building has a beautiful floor, covered with black-and-white patterns of concave-convex tiles. The walls are covered with wooden panels. The staircase is made of marble. There are original features also in the apartments, such as parquet floors with square patterns.


29. Lydia House

Roelof Hartplein 2 & Johan M. Coenenstraat 2
Jan Boterenbrood, 1924-1927

This building, made up of multiple volumes, provided apartments for predominantly unmarried young women. Notable parts include the staircase, the turret and the stained-glass windows, one of which is extremely colourful. The building originally had its own chapel.




30. Apartment Block on Concertgebouwplein & Jan Willem Brouwersstraat

Concertgebouwplein 2-16 & Jan Willem Brouwersstraat 3-25
Ernst Adolph Christiaan Roest, 1925-1929

This building stands behind the Concertgebouw building, on the site of its garden, where poor people used to gather to listen to the concerts for free. It is made up of two blocks in the shape of a horseshoe. The central part where the blocks meet has rectangular towers.



Although the building seems to be a unit, the two blocks have different decorative details.

The block on the Concertgebouwplein is especially remarkable. The entrances here are probably the most beautiful in all Amsterdam. The recessed entrances have beautiful wooden doors. The brickwork of the entrances is extremely varied. Especially remarkable are the organic cast-iron objects on the both sides of the entrances. Notable, too, are the small orange balls under their supports.



The entrances on Jan Willem Brouwersstraat are simpler, but still attractive.


Some original stained-glass windows survive here and there. On Jan Willem Brouwersstraat 25 one can admire beautiful elements of the interior in the style of the Amsterdam School: a handrail of the staircase and a fireplace.


31. Het Nieuwe Huis

Roelof Hartplein 50, Roelof Hartstraat 4-10, Johan M. Coenenstraat 1 & Gerard Terborgstraat 44-46
Barend van den Nieuwen Amstel Jr., 1927-1928

This building – the New House in English – originally contained apartments, shops, a post office, a public reading room, and a communal kitchen-restaurant. The apartments were meant for wealthy single people and were endowed with luxuries such as central heating, bathrooms with hot running water and hireable chambermaids. However, the apartments did not have their own kitchen. It is the only example of the so-called single-kitchen apartment building (Einküchenhaus) in the Netherlands. The kitchen operated until 1975.

The corner façade shows many rounded and curved forms. There is much horizontal emphasis on the sides. On the inside, the most outstanding element is the staircase hall leading to the apartments, adorned with beautiful stained-glass windows, elegant ironwork and marble finishing.