|Commisioner||De Vrije Gemeente|
|Accessible||Tram 1-2-5-6-7-10-20; bus 142-145-170-171-172-197|
|More||Lutgard Mutsaers, 25 jaar Paradiso, geschiedenis van een podium, podium van een geschiedenis 1968-1993, Amsterdam 1993; G. Hoogewoud, R. Louet Feisser, 'Vrije Gemeente/Paradiso moet blijven', Wonen TA/BK, september 1975; Jan Jaap Kuyt e.a., G.B.Salm & A. Salm GB Zn Bouwmeesters van Amsterdam, Amsterdam/Rotterdam 1997.|
|Category||Cultuur, Leisure, Religie|
Former church, now theatre for pop music
The ‘Vrije Gemeente’ was set up in 1877 by freethinkers who had belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. Following a limited competition in 1879, Gerlof Bartholomeus Salm, who did not in fact win first prize, was commissioned to design a ‘society building’ with a modest facade. Together with his son Abraham, he designed a plain brick building with a strict symmetrical organization. The church building was consecrated on 2 May 1880.
From the street, the church is hidden from view by a front building, behind which is the church proper. On either side of the body of the church are galleries on cast-iron columns. The organ and the pulpit were in the apse, an element derived from early Christian architecture. This was a reference to the pure, uncorrupted Christian community. For the rest, the design is in keeping with the eclectic fashion of the period. In 1965, the Vrije Gemeente moved to a new building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, in Buitenveldert and sold the old building. In 1968 it was given a new use as a cultural centre, Paradiso, which now has an international reputation. The austere architecture has since undergone minor alterations here and there. In 2002, new stained-glass windows were fitted in the building. (ARCAM/OD)