Unique plaques

On the Zwanenplein (square) it is not only swans that are depicted on the façades: look closely to see an eagle and a hen. They are mentioned in a verse by the poet David Ingwersen (brother of the architect Arnoldus Ingwersen) about the First World War, when the houses were built.

IJsbeer en Luipaard en Gallische Haan
bonden den kampstrijd met d'adelaar aan
Hoe bloedden kaken en klauwen!
Holland toog rustig aan 't bouwen
Wat vindt de vrede na vier jaar vol leed
d'adelaar stervend, dit bouwwerk gereed

The verse describes the neutral position of the Netherlands during the First World War, and animal names are used to secretly denote the countries that did or did not join the war. The polar bear stands for Russia, the leopard for the United Kingdom, and the hen for France. They were enemies of Germany during the First World War, here named the eagle.


Zwanenplein, 1919

Two styles on one square

The houses with bay windows, white woodwork and roofs with buckling were designed by the architects Gratama and Versteeg. They designed the houses numbered 2 to 72. The prominent roofs and the towers at houses numbered 1 to 121, designed by Kuipers and Ingwersen, remind one of castles. A good example is the one at the gate from the Zwanenplein to Putterstraat.


Grand entryway Putterstraat, 2004

Amsterdam School

The Bethlehem Church by the architect Moen on the Zwanenplein is a good example of the Amsterdam School with its brick decorations and the refined window frames.


Decorative stonework on Zwanenplein, 2007