The Beurs van Berlage is a national monument located in the historic centre of Amsterdam, with a total area of 16,000m2. This beautiful building holds a broad spectrum of different offices, it’s the hotspot where the most desirable and prestigious conferences, events and exhibitions are organised, two restaurants are located at the Beursplein and the Damrak, MeetBerlage facilitates the small meetings and there are even three escape rooms, a bicycle parking space and a Tony’s Chocolonely super store. The Beurs van Berlage is at the top of the market.
The first stock exchange in the Netherlands was set up by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. They came up with the idea of issuing shares in order to finance their maritime activities. They did need a stock exchange building however, in order to be able to trade the shares.
Amsterdam city council decided to build a separate stock exchange building and hired Hendrick de Keyser to design one. In 1611, his stock exchange was completed and it became the venue for the trading of VOC shares and, from 1621, also those of the Dutch West India Company (WIC).
As such, the Beurs van Hendrick de Keyser was referred to as the oldest stock exchange in the world. The building, located at Rokin, was demolished in 1835 due to subsidence and was replaced by the Beurs van Zocher.
At the end of the 19th century, Amsterdam was doing well. Trade was flourishing and a growing number of people decided to move to the city. In 1896, the Amsterdam administration therefore decided to allow the construction of the new stock exchange to go ahead after all. The honour of developing this new building went to architect and urban designer Hendrik Petrus Berlage.
Berlage designed a completely new building, its bell tower carrying the ‘Beursbengel’ (exchange bell) being the most prominent element. Berlage, being a staunch socialist, believed the stock exchange trade had a short lease of life. Yet he found a smart and creative solution for this dilemma: inspired by the Italian Palazzo Pubblicos, he decided to design the new stock exchange building in such a way that it could serve as a grand communal home, a public palace, after socialism had triumphed. He therefore built a sort of symbolic city hall, a ‘public palace’ that could temporarily serve as a stock exchange.
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