Architect: Adolf L. van Gendt (1835-1901)
Commissioned by: Hollandsche Manege PLC
Years of construction: 1881-1882
The architect Van Gendt was a true eclectic. He could turn his hand to almost any architectural style and made his decisions according to the desired character and function of the building. As the Hollandsche Manege (Dutch Riding School) was intended for the elite and was situated in a chic area, he opted for a palatial style with Classic and Baroque features.
Front façade of the Hollandsche Manege (riding school)
While the exterior of the building is relatively subdued, the arena itself abounds with decorative elements. Look for the Baroque winch above the orchestra’s balcony and the winged horses. Also the classic garlands, freezes, vases and pilasters and the ornamentation of the stucco such as the coat-of-arms of Amsterdam, the monogram HM and the year Anno 1881.
Interior Hollandsche Manege, overlooking the indoor track, 2003
Despite the classic features, Van Gendt used modern materials. The foyer was covered with a glass roof. He used cast iron to build the roof of the arena. This was the first time cast iron was used on this scale, and is thanks to the development of industrial cast iron foundries.
Stables of the Hollandsche Manege
The Hollandsche Manege has always served as a riding school. This makes it the oldest riding school in the Netherlands. In the 1970s, the building was threatened with demolition. A group of neighbourhood residents came to the rescue. In 1986, the building with its unique interior and stalls was thoroughly restored and was reopened by Prince Bernhard.