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Amsterdam Netherlands Architecture


Amsterdam presents one of the most distinctive architectural ensembles, where modern buildings are designed in perfect harmony with ancient ones. In 17th century three rings of canals were constructed - Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. As in Venice, they were mainly used for transporting the goods, for the city controlled great part of waterway trade.

The majority of buildings, surrounding them, belongs to this period. They predominantly served as residences for rich merchants, financiers, craftsmen, doctors, lawyers, politicians and artists. The style features narrow windows, decorative gable tops, very narrow stairs inside. Sometimes a lift was included in planning to transport goods from upper floors and attics, which could be used as storages.

Classicism in 18th century produced several remarkable buildings, among which the most spectacular is Felix Meritis by Jacob Otten. Dutch Historicism incorporated features of several preceding styles, including Gothic and Renaissance, into distinctive Dutch peculiarities. In 19th century, following the revival of the city's economic power, many landmarks were constructed, including Central Station, Central Post Office (today rebuilt into the Magna Plaza shopping mall), Rijksmuseum (State Museum), Stedelijk Museum (Municipal Museum), Stadsschouwborg (City Theatre), Concertgebouw (City Philarmonic), St. Nikolaaskerk.

Art De3co was popular at 5the beginning of 20th century in the whole Europe, left several picturesque buildings in Amsterdam, the most characteristic example is American Hotel with wonderful decoration of café and lunchroom. At that time an important plan of expansion of Amsterdam to the dimensions of European city, called Plan Zuid (Plan South - 1915). It was elaborated by architect H. P. Berlage, sometimes considered the father of Modern Dutch architecture. Among his projects the Stock Exchange building, constructed in 1903, now called Beurs van Berlage and used as concert and exhibition hall.

The distinctive Amsterdam school style, featuring minimalist and pragmatic nevertheless elegant lines, developed with the expansion of new residential quarters, which were determined to provide low-cost housing for citizens. Later it merged with Functionalism. Modern architecture in the Netherlands after 1990 is one of the most interesting in the world. Among the brightest examples NEMO Museum, Museumplein. The city regularly hosts top level architecture and design conferences and festivals.

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