Until well after the Second World War, a visit to the cinema was a popular evening out – after all, there was still no competition from television. This created a growing need for cinemas. A sizeable number of cinemas were built in Amsterdam, especially between 1920 and 1930. They were often given a striking appearance, which was supposed to tie in with the fantasy world lurking behind their doors.


Front of Ceintuurtheater (theatre), 1981


Another striking thing was the architecture of the Ceintuurtheater (theatre), with its expressionistic forms and details. To the left and right of the entrance there are wrought-iron lamps with the words ‘Ceintuur’ and ‘Theater’. Another unusual feature is the use of reinforced concrete. This not only made the unique detailing of the façade possible, but also made it unnecessary for the balcony in the cinema hall to be supported by pillars, which could have obstructed the view.


Boarded up doors of the Ceintuurtheater, 1981

Willem Noorlander

Apart from the Ceintuurtheater, the Amsterdam architect Willem Noorlander (1877-1940) built other cinema theatres, such as the red-brick cinema Astoria on Mosplein in Amsterdam-Noord, and the Rembrandt Theater on Rembrandtplein. The latter was burnt down in 1943. The Ceintuurtheater was praised for its robust architecture as well as the unobstructed view of the screen - despite the large ladies' hats.


Front of the former Ceintuurtheater, 1999