Factories and the Rise of the Working ClassAmsterdam, Netherlands
In the quirky neighbourhood of the Pipe memories of the past abound. The voices of the people that shaped its transformation from a rural polder to an industrial zone form a miscellaneous mosaic. Follow the steps of the factory workers through 19th and 20th century Pipe district and discover the most decisive moments in Amsterdam’s development.
1. SarphatiparkThe Sarphatipark is a is a green oasis in the middle of the Pipe district. It is named after physician, urban planner, and philanthropist, Samuel Sarphati who devoted his entire life to the makeover of the area.
2. BathhouseThe bathhouse is located in the heart of the Diamond neighborhood in the Pipe. This public bath opened its doors in 1926 at the time that the houses in the area did not yet have showers. Architect A.J. Westerman designed the round building in the style of the Amsterdam School with separate men’s and women’s sections around eight showers and two bathtubs. In those days each neighborhood in the city had a bathhouse.
3. Pieter Lodewijk TakstraatThis neighborhood came about between 1919 and 1921 by order of The Dageraad Housing Association. The design is by the two leading architects of the Amsterdam School; Michel de Klerk and Piet Kramer.
I have a dream
SarphatiparkThis story is about an Amsterdamer who applied himself to the task of improving his fellow citizens living conditions. His name was Samuel Sarphati and was born in 1813 to a middle-class Jewish family. Through the support of his parents’ wealthy acquaintances, Sarphati was able to study medicine, at the age of 13. Samuel eventually graduated in 1839 and settled himself as a general practitioner in Amsterdam. Wanting to help his fellow citizens, he started to work for the Portuguese-Jewish board of the guardians of the poor and later he became appointed to the Portuguese-Israelite hospital. With exposure to the low quality of life in Amsterdam, he began a life full of social commitment and devotion to improve public health and working class life. This engagement earned Sarphati several royal honors. He died in 1866, at the age of 53. His funeral was a massive tribute.
A bath, a bath! My kingdom for a bath!
BathhouseFew Dutch could enjoy the sheer joy of a hot shower after a long day at work until the 19th century. Private bathhouses were only used by the elite. Around 1900, most Amsterdammers took their weekly wash in their kitchens, since bathrooms did not exist yet. In line with the call for better living conditions and in order to improve public health, the workers were allowed to bathe in public baths. Starting from 1911, the Amsterdam municipality actively engaged in intense propaganda for more hygiene and so called 'water civilization' for all residents of its city. Public baths were built in each workers’ neighborhood. The bathhouse was a welcome addition to the Diamond area, which had expanded between 1920 and 1930 with a considerable number of homes. Most people took their weekly bath on Saturdays, taking a bath or shower more often was still too expensive in those days. In the Building Regulations of 1933, the construction of a bath cell was made mandatory for new construction, but in 1951 only a quarter of the Amsterdam dwellings had a bathroom. In the 1980s, when all the houses in the Diamond neighborhood finally got a shower, the bathhouse was closed down.
The power of symbolism
Pieter Lodewijk TakstraatThe aspiration of the designers of the buildings at the P. L. Takstraat was to create a 'Gesamtkunstwerk'. The facade of the houses, the mailboxes, the sculptures, the roof frames, even the house numbering, are fully integrated into a wavy whole resonating with symbolism. If you look up, roosters can be seen on both sides of the roof ledge: they stand for the housing corporation and social democracy “announcing the new dawn, the new age” and also refer to the working class’ awakened consciousness. More of this desire for symbolism can be found at the Burgemeester van Tellegenstraat (the street in the extension of the P.L. Takstraat). The Burgemeester Tellegen monument (Burgemeester Tellegenstraat 29II) shows a relief on the facade with a man holding a shovel and a woman with a child. The high belltower behind the building is a tribute to the intellectual elevation of the worker welcoming the wind of change blowing through the city.
The team behind the stories at Clio Muse consists of a dedicated long-haired art conservator, an inquisitive bespectacled historian, a passionate feminist curator, and a gifted graphic designer with a permanent tan.
Contributors and Bibliography
Celeste Ilona Tat
|Starting point||Sarphatipark 37I, 1073 CP, Amsterdam|
|Finishing point||Pieter Lodewijk Takstraat, 1073 Amsterdam, Netherlands|
Why take a self-guided tour?
This is a self-guided tour based on the award-winning storytelling concept developed by Clio Muse and the fascinating narratives prepared by our handpicked destination experts.
You can enjoy each multilingual tour by using your smartphone or tablet at your own pace even if you are offline. The interactive map on your screen will guide you step-by-step as you explore all points of interest along your route. Each stop comes with a selection of our signature stories allowing you to tailor the tour experience to your personal interests and schedule.
After downloading Clio Muse app, you can access this tour and activate it any moment you wish and also repeat it any time. To best enjoy our multimedia self-guided tour (comprising maps, video, audio and text) we recommend the use of headphones.