Living hygienically

Several residential blocks in this section of De Pijp were built by order of the ‘Vereeniging ten behoeve der Arbeidersklasse’ (‘Society for the Interests of the Working Class’). Since its establishment in 1852, this philanthropic society had been the first one to concentrate on building hygienic housing for workers at reasonable rents so as to combat the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and tuberculosis.

View of the Ruysdaelkade with the Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat on the left, 1967

Attention to architecture

Even the architecture was given the necessary attention. P.J. Hamer was the society’s ‘in-house architect’. He kept himself extremely busy with public housing and, often together with his son Willem, designed many housing blocks in De Pijp and the Jordaan, including the symmetrical complex from 1874 on the corner of the Ruysdaelkade (quay) (no. 57) and Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat (nos. 3-21).

De Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat, as seen from the Ruysdaelkade

Living small

The complex originally contained 130 workers’ homes, studio flats or back-to-back-type apartments, which had been divided into two small half-apartments by means of a thin partition wall. Both corners of Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat with the Ruysdaelkade have been fixed up as retail premises since time immemorial. Above the door of mineral and fossil shop Stenelux at number 2 hangs a bust of Jacob van Campen, the famous architect of the Koninklijk Paleis op de Dam (Royal Palace), which was built to be the town hall.

The bust of Jacob van Campen, 2004