| it retained the bold curving
forms and rich ornamentation of baroque but merged them with classical Greek
and Roman and traditional Dutch styles.
Building facades were accentuated with mock columns (pilasters) and the simple spout gables were replaced with step gables that were richly decorated with sculptures, columns and obelisks.
The playful interaction of red brick and horizontal bands of white or yellow sandstone was based on mathematical formulas designed to please the eye.
Hendrik de Keyser (1565–1621) was the champion of Mannerism.
His Zuiderkerk, Noorderkerk and Westerkerk in Amsterdam are standout examples; all three show a major break from the sober, stolid lines of brick churches located out in the sticks.
Their steeples are ornate and built with a variety of contrasting materials, while the windows are framed in white stone set off by brown brick.
Florid details enliven the walls and roof lines.
Golden Age After the Netherlands became a world trading power in the 17th century, its rich merchants wanted to splash out on lavish buildings that proclaimed their status.
More than anything, the new architecture had to impress.
The leading lights in the architectural field, such as Jacob van Campen (1595–1657) and the brothers Philips and Justus Vingboons, again turned to ancient Greek and Roman designs for ideas.
To make buildings look taller, the step gable was replaced by a neck gable, and pilasters were built to look like imperial columns, complete with pedestals.
Decorative scrolls were added as finishing flourishes, and the peak wore a triangle or globe to simulate a temple roof.
A wonderful example of this is the Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) in The ultimate in early Functionalism, windmills have Amsterdam, originally built as the a variety of distinctive designs and their town hall in 1648.
Van Campen, the characteristic look makes them national icons.
architect, drew on classical designs and dropped many of De Keyser’s playful decorations, and the resulting building exuded gravity with its solid lines and shape.
This new form of architecture suited the city’s businessmen, who needed to let the world know that they were successful.
As red sports cars were still centuries away, canal houses became showpieces.
Despite the narrow plots, each building from this time makes a statement at gable level through sculpture and myriad shapes and forms.
Philips and Justus Vingboons were specialists in these swanky residences; their most famous works include the Bijbels Museum (Biblical Museum) and houses scattered throughout Amsterdam’s western canal belt.
The capital is not the only city to display such grand architecture.
Den Haag has 17th-century showpieces, including the Paleis Noordeinde and the Mauritshuis, and scores of other examples line the picture-perfect canals of Leiden, Delft and Maastricht, to name but a few.
HOISTS & HOUSES THAT TIP Many old canal houses deliberately tip forward.
Given the narrowness of staircases, owners needed an easy way to move large goods and furniture to the upper floors.
The solution: a hoist built into the gable, to lift objects up and in through the windows.
The tilt allowed loading without bumping into the house front.
Some properties even have huge hoist-wheels in the attic with a rope and hook that run through the hoist beam.
The forward lean also makes the houses seem larger, which makes it easier to admire the facade and gable – a fortunate coincidence for everyone.
French Influence By the 18th century the wealthy classes had turned their backs on trade for more staid lives in banking or finance, which meant a lot of time at home.
Around the same time, Dutch architects began deferring to all things French (which reflected French domination of the country); dainty Louis XV furnishings and florid rococo facades became all the rage.
It was then a perfect time for new French building trends to sweep the country.
Daniel Marot (1661–1752), together with his assistants Jean and Anthony Coulon, was the first to introduce French interior design with matching exteriors.
Good examples of their work can be found along the Lange Voorhout in Den Haag.
Neoclassicism Architecture took a back seat during the Napoleonic Wars in the late 18th century.
Buildings still needed to be built, of course, so designers dug deep into ancient Greek and Roman blueprints once more and eventually came up with Neoclassicism (c 1790–1850).
Known for its order, symmetry and simplicity, neoclassical design became the mainstay for houses of worship, courtyards and other official buildings.
A shining example of Neoclassicism is Groningen’s town hall; of particular note are the classical pillars, although the use of brick walls is a purely Dutch accent.
Many a church was subsidised by the government water ministry and so was named a Waterstaatkerk (state water church), such as the lonely house of worship in Schokland.
GABLES Among the great treasures the old canals in Amsterdam, Haarlem and elsewhere are the magnificent gables – the roof-level facades that adorn the elegant houses along the canals.
The gable hid the roof from public view and helped to identify the house, until 1795, when the French occupiers introduced house numbers.
Gables then became more of a fashion accessory.
There are four main types of gable: the simple spout gable, with diagonal outline and semicircular windows or shutters, that was used mainly for warehouses from the 1580s to the early 1700s; the step gable, a late-Gothic design favoured by Dutch Renaissance architects; the neck gable, also known as the bottle gable, a durable design introduced in the 1640s; and the bell gable, which appeared in the 1660s and became popular in the 18th century.
Late 19th Century From the 1850s onwards, many of the country’s large architectural projects siphoned as much as they could from the Gothic era, creating neo-Gothic.
Soon afterwards, freedom of religion was declared and Catholics were allowed to build new churches in Protestant areas.
Neo-Gothic suited the Catholics just fine as it recalled their own glory days, and a boom in church-building took place.
Nationwide, nostalgia for the perceived glory days of the Golden Rotterdam’s 12-storey Witte Huis (built 1898) was Age inspired neo-Renaissance, which Europe’s first ‘skyscraper’.
Today it looks almost drew heavily on De Keyser’s earlier squat compared to its neighbours; it somehow masterpieces.
Neo-Renaissance survived the destruction of Rotterdam in 1940.
buildings were erected throughout the country, made to look like well- polished veterans from three centuries earlier.
For many observers, these stepped-gable edifices with alternating stone and brick are the epitome of classic Dutch architecture.
One of the leading architects of this period was Pierre Cuypers (1827–1921), who built several neo-Gothic churches but often merged the style with neo- Renaissance, as can be seen in Amsterdam’s Centraal Station and Rijksmuseum.
These are predominantly Gothic structures but have touches of Dutch Renaissance brickwork.
Berlage & the Amsterdam School As the 20th century approached, the neo styles and their reliance on the past were strongly criticised by Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856–1934), the father of modern Dutch architecture.
He favoured spartan, pr