The corn exchange was one of the four exchanges in the Beurs van Berlage. It had its own large trading hall, the Graanbeurszaal. This page tells you more about the history of the stock exchange and the Graanbeurszaal.
Merchants’ trade exchange
The Beurs van Berlage was designed more than a century ago as a merchants’ trade exchange by Hendrik Petrus Berlage, one of the most prominent architects from the Netherlands. The merchants’ trade exchange was opened by Queen Wilhelmina on 27 May 1903.
Various types of corn were traded at the corn exchange. The inspection and auctioning of corn are very important in the corn trading process. This all took place in the adjacent Keurzaal and Veilingzaal.
360 degrees Graanbeurszaal
Google Street View allows you to wander through the Beurs van Berlage online. The 360-degree photos of the Graanbeurszaal can be found at the bottom of this page.
History of the Graanbeurszaal
The corn traders traded large quantities of corn that had been imported from abroad. In order to sell this in the Netherlands, they needed an exchange where they could negotiate. The Graanbeurszaal in the Beurs van Berlage was designed with a glass sawtooth roof, making it possible for the traders to inspect the corn in northern light. After WWII, the corn traders’ need to conduct transactions via the exchange waned as telex and telephones were introduced. The food exchange with its tinned vegetables was therefore added to the Graanbeurszaal until 1960.
When both exchanges left, the Graanbeurszaal hosted a permanent exhibition for industrial design until 1976, after which the world’s first options exchange was housed here. From 1987, the Graanbeurszaal was used for rehearsals by the chamber orchestra of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. As the hall resounded quite a lot, a glass auditorium was created where concerts could be attended. It was removed after 22 years, in 2014, and the Graanbeurszaal was restored to its original glory.
Décor of the Graanbeurszaal
Berlage and his team of artists had designed an interior that did the corn trade justice: yellow bricks, panels and friezes that showed the origins of the corn. It was also possible to hire alcoves, sample tables and cabinets, so that sellers were able to sell their products surrounded by all mod-cons.
Upstairs, the Commissie voor den Graanhandel (Corn Trade Committee) had a meeting room to supervise the entire process. The entrance to the corn exchange was adorned with only a single keystone: a kneeling figure with a ploughshare shows that a lot is needed before the bags of corn can be traded. The fire on the keystone of the entrance to the corn exchange refers to the simple things that will eventually make global civilisation a success. The scale on the other keystone represents measure and balance.