Amsterdam: The Rijksmuseum is exhibiting paintings,
prints and drawings of the expansion of the city from the
From June 1st, the Rijksmuseum is hosting an exhibition of
paintings, prints and drawings showing the spectacular
expansion of 17th-century Amsterdam. A number of maps from
the Rijksmuseum’s own collection charting the expansion
agreed on in 1662 will also be on display. Central to the
exhibition are six views by Gerrit Berckheyde depicting
the Gouden Bocht (Golden Bend) on the Herengracht
Canal which was the richest part of the new city.
The four paintings and two drawings by
Berckheyde are from the collections of the Rijksmuseum,
Amsterdam City Archives and the Six family and they
provide a magnificent picture of one of the most beautiful
parts of Amsterdam’s canal belt. Berckheyde captured the
bend three times from the perspective of Leidsestraat and
three times from Vijzelstraat. Some of the plots had not
yet been built on circa 1672, which created a number of
gaps where the sun shone through Amsterdam’s cityscape.
The painter paid particular attention to the houses and
left out details which disrupted the image he wished to
depict. For example, on one drawing he only drew trees on
the northern bank with lanterns – a very recent
invention at the time - on the other side, thereby adding
to the impression of a canal-side residential area of real
The plots on the Herengracht between
Vijzelstraat and Leidsestraat were especially deep and it
was also possible to build properties that were twice as
wide as a normal property by buying two adjacent plots.
All building plots were released for construction from
1663 onwards and by around 1685 properties had been
constructed on every plot. This became the most chic part
of Amsterdam, hence the name the ‘Golden Bend’.
The exhibition will be called
Amsterdam’s canal belt. The expansion of Amsterdam in the
Golden Age and will present a number of exquisite maps
of the canal belt, including by Daniel Stalpaert from
1662. Printed on six loose sheets, these maps offer a
broad overview of the city’s expansion. Amsterdam had long been a city like any
other, but trade at the end of the 16th
growing in a spectacular fashion and more and more people
wanted to live in the city.
By around 1672 Amsterdam had a
population of more than 200,000. There was also constant
demand for space to accommodate the docks and countless
warehouses. The city had already expanded for a few years
starting in 1585, but between 1610 and 1620 Amsterdam
doubled in size. The final city expansion programme was
decided on in 1662, when the three existing canals were
extended. This gave Amsterdam’s canal belt the famous
half-moon shape it has today, when the area has been
nominated for a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The presentation was made possible by the
law firm Hogan Lovells.
Dates: June 1 to September 6, 2010
For further information: use this link to visit the
Rijksmuseum online ...