The Amsterdam School

Since the Woningwet (Dutch Housing Act) of 1902, the emphasis in Amsterdam construction was primarily on the building of houses. Typical of the Amsterdam School architectural style are the closed residential blocks with undulating brick façades. The architectural form of the entire block was more important than those of the individual houses. The long façades with the striking detailing in the brick and woodwork on the surrounding streets are interspersed with solid, sober housing blocks on the surrounding streets.

 

The Henriëtte Ronnerplein, looking towards Penseelstraat, 1958

The mecca of public housing

De Klerk and Kramer worked so well together that it is not always clear who designed what. At any rate the rows of houses on both squares are from De Klerk. Both architects were in their element with the socialist ideas of De Dageraad. Kramer in particular believed that an aesthetically sound living environment could contribute to uplifting of the workers. The primarily two- and three-bedroom houses were a considerable improvement to the workers’ living conditions.

 

Façade detail on the Henriëtte Ronnerplein

Political ideals

On the corner of Henriëtte Ronnerplein (square) there is a bust of Florentius Marinus Wibaut (1859-1936), the socialist Alderman of Public Housing who made possible the construction of the surrounding housing complexes. He saw to it that the city of Amsterdam made a sizeable financial contribution to the housing architecture. Nowadays these council houses belong to housing association Alliantie.

 

Dr. Florentius Marinus Wibaut at the unveiling of his bust, 1931. Photo: Vereenigde Fotobureaux N.V.