Woningen Spreeuwenpark

Spreeuwenpark 8-30 / 85-113
J.H. Rijnja / H.P. Berlage, J.C. van Epen
Woningbouwvereniging Dr. Schaepman / De Algemeene Woningbouwvereniging
IJpleinveer + 10 min. lopen

The first social housing in Noord

When, in the early twentieth century, industry began to develop in Amsterdam Noord, there was as yet no tunnel under the IJ. The socialists Arie Keppler (first director of the municipal housing agency, 1915), Floor Wibaut (alderman for public housing, 1914) and the architect Jan Ernst van der Pek were advocates of public housing for workers here.

Together with employers and housing associations, the city council built a number of garden villages, inspired by the ideas of the British urban planner Ebenezer Howard, who had devised the concept of the ‘garden city’ as an answer to the social and sanitary ills in Western European industrial cities: a core outside the city with a green, village-like character but with the qualities of a city. The neighbourhoods in Amsterdam-Noord were so small scale that they were called ‘garden villages’. In 1912, the housing association Dr. Schaepman built the first social housing scheme in the neighbourhood Spreeuwenparkbuurt. The three-storey block, designed by the architect J.H. Rijnja, was built very much against Keppler’s wishes: he wanted only low-rise development. At right angles to this block, the Algemeene housing association built a complex designed by H.P. Berlage and J.C. van Epen. Because of the staggered frontage and the front gardens, this side of Spreeuwenpark meets the criteria of a garden village to a greater extent. (ARCAM/FG)