Archive for November 1st, 2019

Buy a piece of Amsterdam’s architectural history

Friday, November 1st, 2019

The city of Amsterdam is giving away historic pieces of itself. Ornamental architectural fragments salvaged from historical properties lost to urban development are being offered to Amsterdam residents free of charge. Everything from whole gable tops of canal houses to carved reliefs to columns to simple blocks of stone with mounting holes and attachment points (categorized as debris) from buildings dating as far back as the 17th century are up for grabs. hundreds of pallets of stone architectural features, some with their matching architectural drawings.

They were removed in the reconstruction after World War II and the 1960s, but remarkably for the times, they were carefully documented — their original locations recorded — and kept safe in a warehouse at an undisclosed location. The fragments have been inventoried carefully so that any existing documentation of their original sites (photographs, architectural drawings) are still associated with the pieces.

The city’s department of monuments and archeology has decided to take advantage of the treasure trove of architectural debris in an attempt to give Amsterdam’s golden age a second life.

“It is time to reuse these parts so that we can all enjoy them again”, the municipality has announced. In its attempt to “breathe new life” into old Amsterdam, a 190-page on-line catalogue of the old stonework has been put online to allow every Amsterdammer to own a piece of their heritage.

The catalogue can be seen here (pdf), and the conditions for obtaining on the pieces here (also pdf). Interested parties must submit an application to the Monuments and Archeology department of the municipality describing their planned use for the fragments, the name of the contractor and as full as possible project information for the reuse of the fragment.

If they apply for one of the higher category pieces (larger, better preserved, more thoroughly documented), the city will assess applications more strictly. Criteria include whether the application evinces a full understanding of the piece’s historical value, whether the integration of the fragment into construction runs the risk of damaging it, if it will be installed a listed/protected building how will affect it, how visible it will be in its new location, if will it be reused in the city Amsterdam and how practical is the plan. Applications must be emailed by December 31. All applicants will be notified if they’ve been awarded their desired fragment by the end of February 2020.

There is so payment required to acquire the fragment, but all costs for transport and installation must be paid by the applicant. The fragments must be claimed and removed from the secret warehouse by May 31st.

“Maybe you happen to be a fan and self-builder?” the municipality asks. “Then consider a historic element in your modern Amsterdam facade! But a construction fragment can also be suitable for public spaces or as an application in an art project. And there are even more possibilities, for example, a museum can exhibit it or it can be used as educational material. [The department of] monuments and archeology is open to creative applications!”

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