Hofjes (courtyard with almshouses)

Amsterdam’s city centre has a great number of ‘hofjes’. Many of the almshouses in these courtyards were built by wealthy, pious people from the city who wanted to offer safe shelter to poor unmarried women and widows. The women did not need to pay rent, instead they had to live a god fearing life.

 

Lutherhof, 1921

Lutherans

Two of the hofjes were the Konijnenhofje (rabbit courtyard) dating from 1670/1720, and the Zwaardvegershofje (swordsmith courtyard) from 1738, both situated in the Jordaan area. Only women who were members of the Lutheran community were permitted to live there. The Konijnenhofje had four houses and two rooms, and housed ten women.

 

View of Lutherhof from the Eerste Helmerstraat

Bricks

After two centuries of habitation, the hofjes fell into disrepair. In 1899, the board of the Lutheran community decided to undertake the building of a new hof. A plot of land was bought on the Staringplein. The Lutherhof, with its impressive façade, rose from the ground here. In commemoration of the Konijnenhofje and the Zwaardvegershofje, the old exterior memorial tablets from both hofjes were laid into walls of the courtyard.

 

Lutherhof courtyard, 1989. Photo: Roeland Koning

Independence

The Lutherhof was thoroughly renovated between 1982 and 1984. The seventy residential units were turned into sixty homes with private bathroom. In 2003 nine apartments were built in the spacious attic. The building offers accommodation to senior citizens who want to live independently in a sheltered environment.