Amsterdam Museum (former orphanage)

Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357
Burgwallen - Nieuwe Zijde
H. de Keyser en J. van Campen

The Amsterdam Museum, which tells the history of the city, has been housed in this building since 1975. For centuries, the building housed the city’s orphanage, but in 1960 the orphanage relocated to a new building by Aldo van Eyck. The dormitories and dining rooms of the old orphanage building were subsequently converted into a library and exhibition spaces. A collection comprising some 75,000 objects now tells the history of the city.
Up until the Alteration of 1578, in which the Catholic city government was deposed, the St. Lucien convent and an old men’s home stood on this site. In 1580, the building was turned into an orphanage and in 1598 a new façade, designed by Hendrick de Keyser, was added. In 1632, an association of various citizens added the old men’s home to the complex and work commenced on a new building. Under the direction of Jacob van Campen, three monumental facades, which to this day largely determine the character of the complex, were built in the courtyard.
The gateway on Kalverstraat, built in 1581, is the main entrance to the site. In 1642 it was decorated with a relief depicting the city arms, eight orphans and a dove, symbol of the orphanage. Later, verses by Joost van den Vondel, appealing for donations for the orphanage, were added. (ARCAM/TB)