“Afbeeldinge van het Stadhuys, Nieuwe-Kerk, Waag etc. tot Amsteldam” (view of the city hall, Nieuwe Kerk, Weigh House, in Amsterdam), engraving printed from 2 copper plates around 1700, published by Nicolaes Visscher. Coloured by a later hand. Size: approx. 56.5 x 92 cm.
In 1655, the city hall on the Dam Square was put into use. Even though it was not yet fully completed, the citizens of Amsterdam proudly referred to the building as their wonder of the world. Architect Jacob van Campen had designed an exceptionally monumental classical building by Dutch standards, reminiscent of Greek and Roman architecture. It was conceived as a reflection of God’s creation, a universe in miniature, characterized by symmetry and perfection.
The city hall served as the administrative center where the mayors made decisions regarding the city’s and even the Dutch Republic‘s politics. It also housed the ‘schout‘ (sheriff) and ‘schepenen‘ (municipal officers), convened the city council, and was home to the ‘Wisselbank‘ (exchange bank), one of the world’s most important financial institutions.
In 1808, the city hall was repurposed as the royal palace.
On the Dam Square, there are not only porters and simple merchants but also prosperous citizens and their servants. In the Damrak, light ships that brought goods into the city from the IJ are seen. These goods were weighed and taxed in the central building, the Weigh House. From there, they were transported to warehouses and shops by wheelbarrows or horse-drawn sledges. On the left, you can also spot a ‘toeslede‘ (for passenger transport), a 17th-century invention that lacked wheels and was dragged over the cobblestones. On the corner of Kalverstraat, you can see the map shop of Frederick de Wit.
This print is part of a series of 25 large, rare city views, offering a colorful depiction of life and business in Amsterdam in the early 18th century.
These prints are not only valuable for documenting architecture and the cityscape but also provide insight into the customs and habits of the time. (See also: the Prinsengracht, the Binnen Amstel, the Gouden Bocht, and Waag).
Price: Euro 5.250 (incl. frame).