Pianola Museum

Westerstraat 106
Gemeente Amsterdam
Cultuur, Leisure

The building that now houses the Pianola Museum was designed as a police station at the beginning of last century by the city’s architectural office. It is a good example of a utilitarian building. The design is sober and solid with the emphasis on functionality. However, the influences of Rationalism and Art Nouveau are evident in the façade layout and the ornamentation. In the early twentieth century, under the influence of Berlage, it became popular to employ ornamentation even in functionalist, municipal buildings.

Up until 1930, the police station had four police cells, after which it was downgraded. After having lain vacant in the seventies and eighties (apart from a brief period in which it was used as a studio), a primary school was to have moved into the building. The interior was completely stripped, but the plans were dropped and squatters then occupied the building.

In 1993 the Pianola Museum was given permission to move into the building and to reinstate the original style. The museum opened its doors in 1994. The collection comprises numerous pianolas and organs. Moreover, the museum archive contains 25,000 music rolls. There are plans to recreate the music room of the country house Kareol on the first floor. (ARCAM/TB)