Amsterdam's gateway to South Africa's history
The Zuid-Afrikahuis, also known as the Double Eagle, is a 17th-century canal house on Keizersgracht. It had some illustrious residents, including Laurens Reael – who was the governor-general of the Dutch East Indies – and Jacques Specx, who held the same title but was also known as a trader in Japan and Korea.
The house is special for two reasons: it consists of two buildings – a 17th-century porch and a late-18th-century house. The two houses were later connected by a corridor.
For decades, the Zuid-Afrikahuis has managed and archived a library with a unique, South Africa-focused collection – the largest collection of South African literature in Europe. Researchers, teachers and students often use the library, but it is also open to anyone who has an interest. The largest part of the collection is available in Afrikaans, Dutch and English.
The Zuid-Afrikahuis also houses a rich archive of photos and maps – an important primary historical source for research on the relationship between the Netherlands and South Africa from 1880 to the present. The emphasis is on the period between 1880 and 1920, a time when Dutch-South African relations were at their most intense. Since 1923, the archives of this period – as well as newly acquired archives – have been gathered in the building. In 2014 and 2015, the Zuid-Afrikahuis was renovated completely; the archives were intensively edited and are now kept in an air-conditioned office, which is better for preservation.
They also offer Afrikaans lessons and Dutch courses for Afrikaans-speaking people. The magazine ‘Maandblad Zuid-Afrika’ is published from here (10 editions a year).
Since the profound renovation, there is now a theatre room for small-scale cultural events, such as film and documentary screenings, lectures, debates, concerts and book presentations. The programming is diverse in scope and – of course – is mainly focused on South Africa. They try to cooperate with other Dutch partners and festivals – as well as partners further afield, including the University of Amsterdam, University of Ghent, Week of the African Roman, African Culture Fees Amsterdam, Afrovibes and more.
Meetings and venue space
The Zuid-Afrikahuis' many rooms are available to rent for meetings, small concerts, performances and other events.
More information about the programmes and activities can be found on the Zuid-Afrikahuis website