Nineteenth-century naval barracks

Oostelijke Eilanden/Kadijken
Koninklijke Nederlandse Zeemacht
Onderwijs, Voorziening

‘Building 24’

The naval site is an area of land and water in the centre of Amsterdam, between Kattenburgerstraat and Oosterdok. It has been in the hands of the armed forces – originally the Admiralty, now the Ministry of Defence – since the seventeenth century. The Maritime Museum, which today is located just outside the site boundaries, was originally part of it. The other buildings on the site are all very different. One of the more visible buildings, in the northwestern corner, is an approximately one hundred metre long dark brown brick building, two storeys plus a basement, under a traditional tiled roof. The entire building is in a rather sober, puritanical style.

In military circles, the building is known as ‘Gebouw 24’ (‘building 24’). Its precise date of construction is not known, but old city maps suggest it must have been built around 1885. It originally housed troops in a number of large dormitories. During the last century, the building was made suitable for various training activities. The dormitories were converted into classrooms and a kitchen was built for the navy’s catering school. In about 1980, the building ceased to be used for training purposes. It no longer had a specific function but variously housed, among other things, the military barber and cobbler. Since 2003, the northern section of the building has been used by NATRES (National Reserve), a military unit comprising ex-service personnel who are deployed on a voluntary basis, for example, to guard tunnels and bridges, in emergencies. The southern section was redeveloped in 2010. Window frames were replaced and offices created on the ground floor. The top floor remains vacant. The façade was renovated in 2011. (ARCAM/DW)