One of the most remarkable buildings between Central Station and Dam square is the Beurs van Berlage, the old stock market of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam traders house was designed in 1903 by Berlage, one of Holland’s first and most important modern architects. The Amsterdamse Beurs is definitely a nice place to visit in Amsterdam.
In the Golden Age, the 17th century, Amsterdam turns into a booming trading city. In 1602 the famous VOC company, the first multinational in the world is set up. The VOC traded spices from all around the world.
The Dutch VOC
Because the journey across oceans were so risky, tradesmen were offered a part of the profit. The papers that represented these profits in the company were soon worth a lot of money and people started trading these bonds. The VOC became the first company in the world that sold stocks of the company.
In 1611 the Amsterdam people built the first building for the purpose of this stock trading, called the ‘beurs’. The Dutch word for stock markets, ‘beurs’, was used in many different languages: bolsa in Spanish, Bourse in French and Boerse in German.
Dutch architect Berlage
In 1903 the Beurs van Berlage was built. The building was created by famous Dutch architect Berlage. The result is a very different style than anything that had been created before.
Instead of the curly neo classical architecture of the Central Station, the Beurs van Berlage was a sober, functional design. People didn’t quite like it at first.
Start of modern architecture
Now the ‘Koopmansbeurs’ is considered as the start of modern architecture in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam School architecture
One of the first modern designs and a big inspiration for the later Amsterdam School architects. The architecture in the Beurs is combined with paintings, sculptures and poetry from Dutch artists.
The imagery of the Beurs shows some of the socialist ideas of the artists of the time: exploitation of the workers, women’s rights, poetry on greed and limitations of the free market. Berlage foresaw big changes in society. The end of capitalism would turn the building into a meeting place where art, economy and society blend.
In 1987 his vision became true. The Amsterdam stock market left the building. Now, concerts and other events are organised in the Beurs. You can’t visit the Beurs on your own. You can have a drink at the restaurant. In the back of the café you can see the works of famous Indo-Dutch painter Jan Toorop, representing ‘Past, Present and Future’.
Beurs van Berlage
Grand Café on Beursplein is open every day