Beurs van Berlage
This time Amsterdam by Night puts its Spotlight on the Beurs van Berlage (Amsterdam stock market). For many people this is the first large building they encounter when walking the Damrak from Central Station to Dam square. The building is named after its famous Amsterdam architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. The history of the Amsterdam stock exchange, one of the oldest in the world, goes back till the Golden Age. Reason enough for a closer look.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange
During the Golden Age, Amsterdam was the first city in the world to allocate a fixed location for the trade in stocks. In that time the stocks were mainly from the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC, or the Dutch East India Company). From 1611 stocks were traded in the Koopmansbeurs at Rokin. This impressive building had to be demolished in 1838 because its foundations were unstable on the soft Amsterdam ground. It was replaced by the Beurs van Zocher (stock market of Zocher) at Dam square, at the location where we now find Bijenkorf. The poorly chosen location led to a very small corridor of only 15 meters from Damrak to Dam square. After the construction of Central Station in 1889, this became such an obstacle to the increasing traffic that it was decided to demolish also this building.
Stockmarket of Berlage
The city held a contest for the design of the new stockmarket, and 5 designs were nominated for the final selection. The city council initially choose for the design of architect Cordonnier, but it was later disqualified because the design was an almost exact replica of the city hall of La Rochelle (France). This led to the selection of Berlage's design, which was constructed during 1898 and 1903 along the Damrak. The large increase in stock trade outgrew the building and in 1912 most of the trading moved to Beursplein 5. The Beurs van Berlage kept several other financial activities, among which the trading in goods and grain and the trade in options.
Cultural Center and Royal Wedding
Since 1985 the building has a more public function with space for exhibitions, lectures and concerts. On the 2nd of February 2002 is was also the location for the wedding of crownprince Willem-Alexander and prinses Maxima. The consecration found place in the Nieuwe Kerk, but the civil marriage was performed by mayor Job Cohen in the large hall of the Beurs van Berlage. A tour through the Beurs will provide a nice introduction to the building and the Amsterdam stock market.
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