The Bushuis is an old armoury or arsenal located at Singel 423. It was built midway through the Eighty Years War in 1606 on the former a shooting range called Voetboogdoelen. Like many historic buildings in Amsterdam, the construction date is displayed on the front of the building. The new building was a replacement for the previous armoury on Kloveniersburgwal, which then became a base for the East Indies Company.
The Bushuis consisted of two very deep buildings with a shared facade at the front. The two high doors made it easy to move heavy canons in and out. However, the doors don’t appear that tall now because the level of the road has been raised over the years.
The gable is very decorative with rolls, lion masks & spheres and was designed by Hans Vredeman de Vries. These are not seen very often in amsterdam. The roof space was used to store lighter weapons such as rifles, swords and muskets.
The Bushuis has foundation walls which are one meter thick due. These help carry the enormous weight of the the weapons stored there. The ground floor walls were 50cm thick.
Just before the end of the 17th century, the arsenal had another use. The upper floors served as a home for girls aged 8 to 14 who were daughters of painters. They worked there winding imported raw silks in return for food and basic eduction.
The first floor on the Singel was a meeting room for regents and the floor above was home to the foreman.
The ground floor remained as arms storage facility until 1787, after which it was used as a stable for the horses and carriages of the cavalry and later, the royal house.
The building was renovated in 1920 by architect AA Kok and the plaster was removed from the front. The windows were reconstructed in colonial style together with shutters. Six new spheres were placed on top. The door in the middle of the house needed to remain in place because the central stairwell was still in use. The entrance disappeared around 1972 when the former armoury became part of the university library next door.
The university library had been located at Singel since 1880
The first few canal houses of Herengracht where it joins up with Brouwersgracht. Just five minutes walk from Amsterdam Central station. Definitely one of my favourite photo locations in the centre. The best time to visit is towards the end of a sunny day when the warm light strikes the front of the buildings.
Dutch artist Dennis Daniels created this brilliant display which I spotted just outside a small gallery on Prinsengracht. A choir made out of crumpled beer cans!
Love exploring the canals in Amsterdam. I do this each week and there’s always something eye catching. There are the usual amazing well known sights such as Westerkerk. You’ll also find the occasional old-timer vintage cars, such as this 1974 Ford Consul. This beautiful city already surprises and rarely disappoints!
Amsterdam XXX. In many places in Amsterdam you can find a symbol consisting of three vertical crosses. It can be seen on historic buildings, municipality vehicles, flags, crowns, coats of arms, canal houses, drain covers and most noticeably, on bollards (known locally as Amsterdammertjes) which stop vehicles from driving on the pavement.
Visitors may speculate whether the crosses are linked to the red-light district or X-rated shows. Indeed, many shops sell souvenirs that portray this association. However, the crosses have nothing to do with infamous adult entertainment industry. These symbols are St Andrew’s crosses also known as saltires. They have appeared on Amsterdam’s coat of arms since 1505. St. Andrew was martyred the 1st century AD and was crucified on an x shaped cross and was a fisherman. Amsterdam began as a fishing port and all ships registered there displayed the three crosses.
Is this the narrowest house in Amsterdam? It can be found on Oude Hoogstraat right in the centre of Amsterdam, between Dam Square and the Red Light District. A few years ago, I took a canal cruise. The tour guide pointed to a house on Singel canal (Nr 7) and confidently told us that it was Amsterdam’s narrowest house. However, that house looks like it might just be the entrance for a wider house. What do you think?
Bartolotti Huis – Herengracht 170-172 The house was built around 1618 and designed by one of the finest architects of the time Hendrick de Keyser. It was built on behalf of Willem van den Heuvel, (aka Guillielmo Bartolotti) who settled in Amsterdam as head of the banking and trading house. He was then one of […]
Leidsegracht was the main route for barges between Amsterdam and Leiden, the city from which this canal takes its name. Leidsegracht marks the boundary between the first and second phase of the canal ring construction in 1658. The canal runs from Herengracht in the centre, through the Jordaan district to Singelgracht (not to be confused with Singel).
Waals-Eilandsgracht near Amsterdam central station is well worth a visit. It’s a peaceful oasis even on a busy day in the city.
A series of uniform canal houses on Prinsengracht known as “The Seven Province Houses” (de zeven provinciën) built between 1714 and 1725. Each house bears one of the names of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic in the 1700s. The builder Benjami Dutry was from Nobility and born in the province of Gelderland, which is why this is the centre-most and most ornate house.⠀