Oudemanhuispoort


 
Oudemanhuispoort 1A
Amsterdam
Cultuur, Kantoren, Leisure, Onderwijs, Openbare ruimte

This site is located in the city centre, between Kloveniersburgwal and Oudezijds Achterburgwal. The former Oudemannenhuis (old men’s home), from which the complex derives its name, can be accessed via a gateway on both sides.

In the early fifteenth century, a large lottery was organized in order to finance this care home for the elderly, which was taken into use in 1602. Although women were in the majority, the building was called the Oudemannenhuis or Oudemanhuispoort, after the passageway in the south wing. There were four wings, built alternately in brick and natural stone. The main wing comprised two sections situated one behind the other. The rear section contained the dining rooms and wards for the sick.

The site was redeveloped in the mid eighteenth century. The passageway in the south wing was roofed over. Small recesses were created and these were rented out to traders selling luxury articles, such as jewellery and precious metals, and books. Today, only the booksellers remain. On both sides of the covered passageway are gateways. The original gateway on Kloveniersburgwal was built in 1601 but was replaced at the end of the eighteenth century by the gateway in the photograph. The group of statues above the gateway is by A. Ziesenis, whose name can be seen underneath the central figure. Liberality, with the attributes of Abundance (a horn), Wisdom (a book) and Enlightenment (a lamp), is flanked by Poverty and Old Age.

In the nineteenth century, the complex was converted to various uses. In 1880 it was given the use it still has today, as a university complex. Lecture halls were created; spacious halls on the upper floors, small rooms in the wings. In the 1920s, the increase in student numbers made expansion necessary and a new building, on the right hand side in the photograph, was built in the style of the Amsterdam School to a design by the architect P. Marnette. This new building contains three large lecture halls. (ARCAM/RB)