Architect: Willem Hamer (1843-1913)
Commissioned by: the trustees of the Vereeniging tot Aanleg van een Rij- en Wandelpark te Amsterdam (Association for the building of a Riding and Walking park in Amsterdam)
Years of construction: 1874-1881
Renovations: 1890, 1991.
The pavilion was built like a Venetian villa: the upper central part is flanked by side wings that have open arched arcades resting on composite columns. The middle part has Ionic half columns and rounded arched windows. The statues in the middle of the façade are the goddess of fruit and gardens, Pomona, and the goddess of flowers and spring, Flora. Between them are the coat-of-arms of the Vondelpark and of Amsterdam.
Old postcard of the pavilion, A. T. Rooswinkel, 1885
The original pavilion
The pavilion originally had three halls. However, as early as 1890 a restaurant, designed by the architect Hamer, was added to the east side. Unfortunately, the pavilion was never a going concern and it regularly changed hands and functions. One problem was the continuous battle against water: the building lies at the lowest point in the Vondelpark.
Photo of pavilion interior, 1924
During the Second World War, the Germans occupied the pavilion. In 1947 it was reopened as an international cultural centre where dinner parties, theatre performances and fashion shows were held. The Holland Festival held high teas and cocktail parties here. From 1975 to 2011, the pavilion housed the Film Museum, with its gigantic collection of old and new films. During a renovation in 1991, the French Room and the restaurant were brought back to their original state.
The Vondelpark pavilion in use as Film Museum, 2006. Photo: J.M. Luijt