From bathhouse to theatre

Westerman made the chimney the central axis of the building. Around it he placed semi-circular waiting rooms. A corridor separated the waiting rooms from the outermost ring with the baths and shower units. Men and women were strictly separated. There were two entrances, above each of which were cast iron signs: ‘men’s entrance’ and ‘women’s entrance’. The bathhouse was closed around 1986 and the building took on a completely different function. It became a neighbourhood theatre and has remained so up to this day: Badhuistheater De Bochel (bathouse theatre).

 

Overview photo, probably from the 1920s

Amsterdam school style

Westerman worked for Public Works from 1914 to 1921. From 1919 he was deputy architect at the Buildings department. His designs were related to the Amsterdam School, a style characterised by expressionist shapes, sculpted ornamentation and decorative iron work.

Chimney, the central axis of the bathhouse, 1984

A bathhouse for every neighbourhood

The first municipal bathhouse was opened for the general public in 1911. The municipality encouraged the use of the bathhouse to improve the standard of hygiene. The Badhuizenplan (bath house plan) introduced by councillor De Miranda was accepted in 1920. More bathhouses would be built to meet the growing demand. In 1931 the plan was complete. There were then fourteen municipal bathhouses and eleven children’s bathhouses. Every neighbourhood had at least one bathhouse.

 

Outer ring with baths and shower rooms, probably 1920s