Trading in cafés

An extensive diamond industry was flourishing in Amsterdam at the end of the 19th century. The trading in rough and cut diamonds initially took place in a number of cafés. The association ‘Beurs voor den Diamanthandel’ (Exchange for Diamond trading) was established in 1889. A hall was rented in the Casino building on the Waterlooplein (square), where it was possible to trade under proper circumstances.

 

The momumental Diamond Exchange was built on the Weesperplein in 1911. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam

Gerrit van Arkel

The diamond trading sector grew and faced the need for an accommodation of its own. The monumental Diamond Exchange was erected on the Weesperplein (square) in 1911. The design was by architect Gerrit van Arkel (1858-1918). He also designed various diamond cutting factories during this time, including the Asscher factory on the Tolstraat and that of Benjamin Soep on the Nieuwe Achtergracht (canal). The large exchange hall was on the first floor. More than a hundred offices for the traders were above the hall. The Incasso Bank (collection bank) had a branch in the basement. The safes were located here as well.

 

The building was sold and radically rebuilt in the end of the 1980s. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam

Concordia

A second diamond exchange, Concordia, could be found on the other side of the Weesperplein. It was also referred to as the ‘kinnesinne beursje’, because its members were supposedly jealous of the larger Diamond Exchange. The Concordia was closed down in 1926. The building was demolished in order to make room for the extension of the Joodse Invalide (Jewish Invalid).

 

Two men examine a diamond, year unknown. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam

Major fire

The Diamond Exchange was expanded by Van Arkel by one floor in 1919. This floor burnt down in 1956. It was replaced by a modern roof construction. The building no longer met the safety standards at the end of the eighties. The building was sold and drastically renovated. The diamond trading sector moved to a location in Amsterdam Southeast.