Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen
|Architect||J.J. en M.A. van Nieukerken|
|Commisioner||Vereeniging Koloniaal Instituut|
|More||Michaël Lucassen, Inez Kloosterman, J.J. van Nieukerken (1854-1913), M.A. van Nieukerken (1879-1963), J. van Nieukerken (1885-1962). Architectuur als ambacht - ontwerpen voor het patriarchaat, Rotterdam 1998; J. Woudsma, Een markant gebouw in Amsterdam-Oost. Het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen, Amsterdam 1990.|
Royal institute for the tropics
Het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (royal institute for the tropics) is a successor to the Koloniaal Museum in Haarlem of 1871. Because of a chronic lack of space, in 1900 that museum began to draw up plans to relocate to a new building in Amsterdam. In addition to its museum function, it was also to be a research institute, with a library, a large hall and teaching rooms.
In 1910, the committee members of the society Vereeniging Koloniaal Instituut began to raise funds from private individuals, institutions, companies, central government and the city council. The latter promised a site on the former cemetery Oosterbegraafplaats on Mauritskade, on the edge of Oosterpark, which had been laid out in 1894 by L.A. Springer. In 1916, the park was remodelled by Springer. J.J. van Nieukerken was selected from three other architects for the commission. When Nieukerken died in 1913, his son, M.A. van Nieukerken took over the project. Despite complaints by the amenities inspectorate and fellow designers about the outmoded style and the chaotic ground plan, in 1915 construction work began. The project took more than ten years to complete because of various setbacks, such as a devastating storm and a shortage of building materials during the First World War. The reinforced concrete structure with wooden roofs was built on a site 44,000 square metres in size. The brick facades were decorated with granite, marble, wall paintings and sculptures in French lime sandstone. For the sculptural programme, a special Symbolism Committee was set up, which selected subjects from national and colonial history, science and trade and sought suitable artists to execute this work. After the independence of Indonesia in 1950, the Koloniaal Instituut was renamed the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT). In the periods 1968-1978 and 1989-1990, the complex of buildings was restored, reorganized and extended. (ARCAM/DH)