The Beurs van Berlage was intended to encourage the spiritual development of people and was going to be a magnificent community work, Berlage said. He instructed his friend and kindred spirit Albert Verwey (1865-1937) to come up with ideas for wall decorations, sculptures and reliefs for the exchange building.
For the Dutch trade history theme, various artists were commissioned to decorate the stock exchange building. In line with the spirit of the time, they were all followers of symbolism to some extent. This meant they did not want to reveal the meaning of their work outright.
Breakout rooms named after artists
You had to look for the meaning by looking at the shape, lines and colours. Not only are the artists immortalised in their works of art in this building, but also by the breakout rooms that were named after the masters. The rooms below were named after the artists of the Beurs van Berlage.
Mendes da Costa kamer
In his father’s stone mason’s yard, Joseph Mendes da Costa (1863-1939) made gravestones and kitchen sinks. As an artist, he created ornaments and sculptures and he also designed interiors. Mendes da Costa felt his designs should not only be decorative; they also had to support the function of the room.
Lambertus Zijl (1866-1947) , himself of modest origins, joined the State School for Crafts, and became a sculptor. He was part of Berlage’s preferred team and also designed tableware and interior sculptures.
Albert Verwey (1865-1937) formulated the concept for the decoration programme in eighteen quatrains. Every artist was given a four-sentence quatrain to come up with a concept that would be in line with Berlage and Verwey’s designs.
Roland Holst kamer
Even though, like Berlage, he came from a wealthy family, painter Richard Roland Holst (1868-1938) fought for labour rights and solidarity. He was convinced art and culture should help achieve a better and more just society.
Antoon Derkinderen (1859-1925) was not only a painter, he also was a stained-glass artist and book cover designer. He felt art should be enjoyed by all of society, because society forms the foundations of art.
Other breakout rooms
The Blauwe kamer formed part of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in those days. It was used as an archive and can be reached from the Rode Kamer and the Berlage zaal.
In 1907, the Ontvangkamer served as the board room of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These days, it is still used as a meeting room.