Architect: Christiaan B. Posthumus Meyjes senior (1858-1922)
Commissioned by: de Vereeniging tot Instandhouding en Beheer van de Amsterdamsche Huishoudschool (Association for the Preservation and Maintenance of the Amsterdam domestic science school)
Years of construction: 1894-1895
Renovation: 1952 (gymnasium), 1974, 1998.
The domestic science courses were intended for up and coming housewives, but also for ladies who were to become head of household in institutions or teachers in cookery and domestic science education. This created a new profession for ‘cultured’ women. Qualities such as mothering, service orientation, care and obedience were fostered in the theory and practical lessons.
The Amsterdamsche Huishoudschool seen from the Vondelpark, 1935. Photo: Johan van Dijk
The school was built in chalet style. This style was very popular at the end of the nineteenth century, arising from the romanticism of the unspoiled Swiss mountain landscape. Rather than making replicas of the chalets, elements of the typical Swiss farmers’ houses were ‘borrowed’. Typical features of the chalet style are the wooden balconies and loggias, and the protruding roof with decorative brackets.
Student of the Amsterdamsche Huishoudschool, 1942. Photo: Johan van Dijk
Sleepers in the park
At the beginning of the 1970s, the Vondelpark was seen as a ‘magical place’ and as such attracted hippies from all over the world. KLM even advertised special flights with the slogan ‘Fly KLM, sleep in the Vondelpark’. The sleepers in the park however, brought more and more tents with them until the park started to resemble a campsite.
Youth hostel Vondelpark, 1989
This was eventually stopped in 1975 when sleeping in the park was banned. To offer the ‘sleepers’ alternative accommodation, the Huishoudschool (Domestic Science School) was converted into a youth hostel. The building remains a youth hostel to this day. Only the two plaques on the first floor with the text ‘Amsterdamsche Huishoudschool’ remind visitors of the building’s distant past.