Scarcity and unemployment

The housing shortage that was already present before the First World War became even greater. The need for buildings was clear but materials and good craftsmen were scarce. People thought that building with concrete would be cheaper. So by way of comparison, nine hundred concrete houses and one thousand brick houses were built in Betondorp (concrete village). The building work would also contribute to reducing employment.

 

Overview of Betondorp (concrete village), 1952. Photo: Maria Austria Instituut

Jan Gratama (1877-1947) and Gerrit Versteeg (1872-1938)

The architects who also built the houses on the Kraaipanstraat (street), designed the garden city in a star shape. Eight architects were brought in for the construction, among which, Dick Greiner. One of his designs was the buildings on the Brink (square) which were designated as national monuments. Later, the architect company Onno Greiner – Dick’s son – and Martien van Goor restored the Brink to its former glory.

 

"De Brink" in Betondorp

Well known people from Betondorp

The great Dutch authors, Gerard and Karel van het Reve, grew up on the Ploegstraat. Gerard’s debut novel ‘De Avonden’ (The Evenings) was set in ‘Cementwijk’ (cement neighbourhood). But the most famous person from Betondorp is of course the footballer Johan Cruyff (1947). He grew up on the Akkerstraat, not far from where the Ajax stadium then stood.

 

Johan Cruijff & alderman Jan Schaeffer by renovated apartments Betondorp, 1983. Photo: F. Busselman