Amsterdam School, an Architecture tour

A tour by taxi, on bike or on foot, as you wish.

Facades as sculptural extravaganza, art for the masses.

A wonderful tour on housing design, especially for architecture buffs, with an architecture specialist, a local art historian. A walk or a bike ride or a taxi ride along the famous Amsterdamse School architecture scattered through town.

Specific attention for architecture from the period 1915-1930 featuring expressive patterns in brick, and additional ornaments in wrought iron, terracotta, stained glass; and a festive sculptural total facade design.
Idealistic and socially friendly, it brought beauty into the cityscape and promoted art appreciation.
Visits are possible to the exterior of various city building blocks including: ‘The Ship’ (het Schip) in de Spaarndammer area; alternatively the well designed area of P.L. Takstraat/Jozef Israelskade; and close by the more stately Vrijheidslaan/Plan Zuid + area of Minervalaan designed by Berlage area; and finally the area of Mercatorplein; area of Roelof Hartplein one of the earliest projects, and more. Please understand these are quite for apart, and we may not hit all of them.

Detail of The Ship, with birds crafted out of brick.

The tour certainly includes impressive single buildings such as Scheepvaarthuis (photo); the office at the axis of Stadhouderskade/Overtoom; the extravagant building near Central Station, the Hardware store Gunters & Meuser in Jordaan/ Prinsengracht.

Images below: Amrath Hotel, now situated within the grand Shipping House (Scheepvaarthuis). The Scheepvaarthuis was the grand, festive headquarters of six shipping agencies in Amsterdam. Built 1913-1916 – the concrete skeleton designed by the brothers Van Gendt. Sculptural treatment of the facade and interior in brick, terracotta, wrought iron, stained glass after designs by J.M. van der Mey, who was assisted by architect M. de Klerk and P.L. Kramer. With visits to some parts of the interior are possible: breakfast room, stairwell.

Sculpture at the side of the building. Abbreviations on the wall indicate some of the shipping agencies who housed within this building and had offices inside: JCJL = Japan China Japan Lijn; KPM = Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij; SMN = Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland.

Detail near ‘Het Schip’. Sculptural balconies.

Material used: brick, natural stone, terracotta, wrought iron, tropical wood.
In another part of Amsterdam we find the Ship (Het Schip). Design of city blocks for laborours by Michiel de Klerk, 1914-1921. From a particular point of view the building is wonderfully mirror symmetric. Originally conceived as school building + homes. Now including the design Museum Het Schip.


As an art historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I can meet you in Amsterdam for a personalized guided tour of art museums and the historic center.
Together we will experience the beauty and history. Enjoy yourself and learn about history while strolling and discussing the country’s history, art and culture. In doing so, we may touch a number of bases – spanning not only fine art and architecture but also the city’s history and current social issues.

Starting at your hotel or meeting in the center, I will take you on a wonderful private cultural walking tour (or bike tour or taxi tour) of your choice. My guided itinerary offers you accessible informative conversation in English, Dutch, or German.

You will learn to recognise the expressive character of the 1920s Amsterdam School of Architecture from its trademark: creative swooping masonry in brick. Plus natural stone elements, plus Art Deco ornaments in wood and finally wrought iron and stained glass.

I know secret ways of gaining entrance into buildings otherwise closed to the general public.

Grand head office for the Dutch Trading Company, a building by De Bazel. This is now the City Archive.

We can also go to the tail end of this movement, to the building by De Bazel. This is now the City Archive. The inside looks like a Mondrian drawing – without colour.


Larger images are available on this old school site.

Drs Kees Kaldenbach: „…he is wildly overqualified to be a guide . That is his secret… Trust me on this.” Gabe. Statement made February, 2017.

Business card. The logo refers to Vermeer.

Tour by Drs Kees Kaldenbach, a professional Art History scholar with excellent teaching skills. Specialist in Fine art and Design, Architecture and History. VIP entry. Entry best at from 10AM.