Haarlemmerplein 50
B. de Greef
Bus 22, 18
Infra, Wonen

Neoclassical excise post

The Haarlemmerpoort was built in 1840. The arched gateway’s original function was not defensive but as an excise post. The gateway was erected under the supervision of C. Alewijn, Commissioner of Public Works, and C.W.M. Klein, Director of City Public Works. The design was probably drawn by B. de Greef. The arch was officially named ‘Willemspoort’ at its ceremonial opening, which coincided with the accession of King Willem II on 27 November, 1840.

The Haarlemmerpoort is neoclassical in style. Its design is symmetrical; the front and rear facades are identical, as are the two side faces. The frieze above the archway is full of details, as are the cornice and consoles. Under the archway there are eight Corinthian columns carved from Benthheimer sandstone.

The present gateway on Haarlemmerplein is the fifth in succession to bear the name Haarlemmerpoort. The ongoing westward expansion of Amsterdam resulted in repeated outward shifts of the city boundary and hence of the position of the city gates. The Haarlemmerpoort lost its function on the abolition of excise levies in 1886. (ARCAM/TJ)