In 1890, the Woning Maatschappij (Housing Association) purchased the land belonging to a former glassworks on Amsteldijk. The aim of this private association was the healthy housing of workers. The director was Gerard Adrianus Heineken, owner of the now world-famous beer brewery. In those days the land formed part of the district of Nieuwer-Amstel, and for that reason it was not expensive.

The Diamantstraat with the little houses; Asscher diamond factory is in the background.

Renaissance Revival

The association had three wide streets laid and 82 workers’ houses built. A.L. van Gendt designed the houses in renaissance revival style, which can be seen from the yellow brick detailing around the windows and the decorations around the dormer windows. Between the low houses with a ground floor and an attic floor there are short rows of two-storey houses. The Nieuwe PijpFive years after the construction of the houses, Amsterdam annexed large sections of Nieuwer-Amstel and moved the city’s boundary a kilometre to the south. This area thus became part of Amsterdam and was surrounded by lots of much higher, urban buildings.

The decorative golden bricks above the windows are still visible, 2005.

Jewish residents

In 1907, Asscher diamond company was built. Since that time the residents of the houses also included Jewish workers from the factory. Jews were not allowed to become members of a guild, and consequently they were not able to practice traditional crafts. The profession of diamond cutter did not fall under a guild, thus allowing them to specialize in this field. Nowadays the remaining houses are privately owned.

The characteristic houses also stood in the Lutmastraat.