De Bijenkorf

Dam 1
J.A. van Straaten en B.A. Lubbers (1914), D. Brouwer (1935, uitbreiding Warmoesstraat), K. Rijnboutt (2005, interieur)
De Bijenkorf
Tram 4, 9, 16, 24, 25

Shopping at Damsquare

The history of the Bijenkorf avant la lettre begins with the haberdashery shop that Simon Philip Goudsmit opened on Nieuwendijk in 1870. The business thrived, enabling the shop to be extended. Meanwhile, Goudsmid found temporary accommodation in a building on Damrak.

Here, the business really took off (location, location, location!) and so Goudsmit decided to leave the premises on Nieuwendijk and he commissioned the architect J.A. van Straaten to design a new department store on Damrak. Van Straaten did so in collaboration with B.A. Lubbers. The two architects fell out, however, which led to the design of the Bijenkorf being officially attributed to B.A. Lubbers, whereas in fact he was mainly responsible for the interior.

The building’s organization is evident from the natural stone façade. The plinth has large windows for displays and on the three stories above the emphasis is on vertical articulation by means of pilasters. The elevations are terminated by a cornice, above which is an attic, which prevents the roof from being visible from the street. Neo-classical and neo-baroque stylistic elements adorn the entire façade. The keystones above the entrances are a homage to the Bijenkorf’s founder Goudsmit and bear his initials.

In 1935 the building was extended, to a design by D. Brouwer, in the direction of Warmoesstraat. An important component was the addition of the large central light court, which with its large glass skylight allowed abundant daylight into the building. In the seventies, the building was transformed, entirely in the spirit of the times, into an introverted luxury department store and all of the windows were blacked out. This was reversed in the refurbishment, to a design by Kees Rijnboutt, of 2005, as a result of which the visual connection with the street has been reinstated. The Bijenkorf, now a national listed building, is an important icon on Damrak and is a major landmark in the transforming ‘1012 area’. (ARCAM/FG)