Part of the Pulitzer Hotel
Between Westermarkt and Reestraat, at Prinsengracht 315-331 you find the Pulitzer Hotel. It’s a chain of about 30 contiguous properties and is one of Amsterdam’s most original hotels.
Large parts of the houses original furnishings have been preserved, but the rooms are equipped with all modern facilities.
Since the 17th century people made mustard here, colored yarn, seethed soap, baked cakes and exercised many other crafts, and today the guests of the Pulitzer hotel are sleeping here.
Have you ever seen the movie Ocean 12? In that movie the gang is staying in the Pulitzer Hotel and the hotel is shown.
To the left of the tree is the front side of No. 263. The place where Anne Frank and her family and their roommates lived is on the backside of the house. To the right of the tree you see a long line of guests waiting to enter the museum. The Anne Frank House has more than 1 million visitors every year.
No canal house in Amsterdam is better known worldwide than the rear building at No. 263, where the Jewish girl Anne Frank wrote her diary during the bitter years from July 1942 till August 1944.
From the outside the house looks like many others. It was built in 1635 and got a new list gable and a rear building in 1739.
This rear building was the hiding place of the Frank family and four others. The access to their hiding place was hidden behind a revolving bookcase.
Anne Frank’s father Otto Frank owned a commercial agency that traded with preservatives for jams for the company Opekta.
In 1940 he moved the company from the address at Singel to Prinsengracht 263.
When it became increasingly clear that Jews would be in danger during the German occupation, the Franks tried to emigrate, but didn’t succeed.
In the beginning of the year 1942 the family made the top floor of the rear building at Prinsengracht 263 habitable.
On July 6th the family (mother Edith, father Otto and Anne and her older sister Margot) moved into the rear building. Sometime later the family Daan moved in as well. Even later a dentist moved in also.
At this address Anne Frank wrote her world famous diary with the title ”The Diary of a Young Girl”.
Anne, her family and their roommates lived at this address until August 4th 1944, when they were betrayed and led away. Of the people who were in hiding here, only Otto Frank survived the war.
Anne and Margot died of typhoid in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in March 1945.
On May 3rd 1957 the Anne Frank Foundation was established. It aims to keep the secret annex up and running and to meet Anne Frank’s ideals. On May 3rd 1960 the Anne Frank Museum opened the rear building for visitors.
The Anne Frank Foundation also supports exhibitions on discrimination, human rights and racism.
Prinsengracht 89 – 133
This house is also called Van Brienenhofje. It was founded in 1804 to support and for the needy by Aernout Jan van Brienen and his wife, who also owned Herengracht 182.
The portal is decorated with two small angels holding a sign with a cross which is surrounded by roses.
The houses of the 40 residents are surrounding a small garden and in the houses there was kept a strict regimen. The porter was holding an eye on the residents, so he could report to the rulers.
Van Brienen founded the houses in gratitude, because he had been saved out of his own safe, which he had locked himself into by accident.
Prinsengracht 159 – 171 is also called ‘Zonshofje’.
This is where the isolated Mennonites worshiped their god.
The house was bought by Mennonites from Friesland in 1677.
The gable stone of the house has a sundial and the inscription ‘De Arke Noach’ (Noah’s Ark) and beneath it six verses.
Prinsengracht 187 – 217
187 -217 is a row of 16 houses from the one with the red shutters and onward to the right (behind the trees)
Prinsengracht was the canal, where the harder work was done and where boats were loaded and unloaded with lifting beams.
Prinsengracht 187 – 217 are still 16 almost identical warehouses. There should have been 23, but the last 7 were unfortunately demolished in 1938.
Not my picture
Just like Herengracht 507 this building was looted under what’s called Aansprekersoproer (the funeral rebellion) in 1696. Here the damage was limited though, and the furniture and other possessions were returned later.
Keizersgracht 778 – 790
The houses to the right (not my picture)
Not my picture
This beautiful row of houses is found a short distance from where Keizersgracht flows into the river Amstel.
Until 1750 the art collector Jeronimus Tonneman lived in one of these houses. When the pieces in his collection were counted after his death, it turned out that there were many important pieces by domestic and foreign artists among them, like Moucheron, Van Ostade, Metsu, Jan Steen, Rubens and Titiaan.
One room in the house was filled with art work by Cornelis Troost, and one of Troosts paintings depicted Tonneman making music with his son, who was also called Jeronimus Tonneman.
In 1737 this son turned out to be something of a brute, when he hit his wife and she got badly wounded in the head. That was long before anger management, and Jeronimus Tonneman jr. was punished with a trip to East India in a prisoner transport.
This house was built in 1686 by either Louis or Henry Trip
In the middle of the 18th century Amsterdam was the scene of a riot:
In June 1748, while Amsterdam was threatened by the French army and was in its second term without a stadthouder, the Covenants Rebellion happened in Amsterdam and other cities.
The Citizens were (very shortly told) unhappy about the way in which the city mayors came to their almost unilaterally positions and how they handled the power they were given.
On the 24th of June more than 30 houses were looted by angry crowds that protested against the Ministry.
Also Keizersgracht 649 was looted and all of the furnishing was thrown into the canal.
Bicker Raye described the incident in his diary, but could hardly find the words to describe how beautiful furniture was first crushed and then thrown into the water. The mob also cut various bags of money up and threw the money into the water. They even threw iron chests full of money into the water.
Van der Hoop
Keizersgracht 444-446 came into the Scottish family Hopes possession in 1758. The Hope family owned a trading house in Amsterdam, which in 1769 had a turnover of 55 million gulden!
In 1822 the house was taken over by Adriaan van der Hoop. He started a large art collection in the house and was said to have bought paintings for 400,000 gulden. He left it all to the Rijksmuseum, which among other things inherited three masterpieces: Rembrandts ’The Jewish bride’, Ruysdaels ’The Mill at Wijk bij Duurstede’ and Vermeers ’Letter reading woman’.
Rembrandts ’The Jewish bride’ (not my picture)
Ruysdaels ’The Mill at Wijk bij Duurstede’ (not my picture)
Vermeers ’Letter reading woman’ (not my picture)
Sorry, the houses were under restauration, when I took the picture
In 1845 the house was bought by Carel Joseph Fodor, who had become a wealthy man by trading with coal. Later he also bought the neighboring houses 609 and 613.
Fodor began collecting contemporary Dutch and seventeenth century French paintings, and he specified in his will that the city of Amsterdam would inherit everything if they turned the property number 609 into a museum. Then he committed suicide on Christmas Eve 1860.
The Fodor Museum was opened in 1863 and became the cities first municipal museum.
The core of the collection staid in this house until 1948, when the show was changed and now Amsterdam’s Historical Museum shows the collection from time to time.
Today Keizersgracht 611 houses the Dutch design institute.
Keizersgracht 324 once belonged to a union for the promotion of arts and sciences, which was created in 1777.
The building had room for the association’s five departments, which are shown in the gable relief: language, writing, commerce, science and music.
Big names such as Brahms, Grieg and Saint-Saens have given lectures here.
In the late nineteenth century the time of enlightenment was over. The association was abolished and the building has since had different purposes. The most controversial purpose was when the house after 1949 became headquarter of the Communist Party.
After 1968 the house was used as a theater and today it is a center for cultural manifestations and summer teachings of the University of Amsterdam.
At Keizersgracht 384 there isa gate with ionic pilasters, which once was the entrance to a theater.
During a performance on May 11th 1772 a fire broke loose in the theater and 17 people died in the flames.
Bicker Raye described what happened on the last pages of his diary: ”On May 11th at half past eight in the evening a fire broke out during a performance. In less than half a quarter of an hour the entire theater stood in flames and in less than 3 hours the whole building burned down to the ground.
The same did a house in Runstraat, where there were horses and which was filled up with straw. Only the horses were saved.
Various other houses, residential houses and warehouses in Runstraat and Prinsengracht, were badly damaged even so they used 46 – 48 fire engines.
Even the oldest people in the city do not remember a fire like this.
In the confusion and because everybody wanted to get out first, many sad and unfortunate accidents happened. As far as anybody knows many were suffocated by the smoke, burned and burned to death.”
The theater Schouwburg was not rebuilt here but at Leidseplein.
Schouwburg at Leidseplein
Behind the portal at Keizersgracht 384 there is today a small yard and behind that yard you’ll find The Dylan Hotel Amsterdam.
No. 317 is the brown house to the left of the white house
There is some debate about what year this house was built and when it came into possession of a gentleman named Christoffel Brants.
Christoffel Brants (not my picture)
He had close relations with Russia and Tsar Peter the Great, who once came to visit unexpectedly. He spoke Dutch during dinner and slept on the floor at night as he was used to.
Tsar Peter the Great of Russia (not my picture)
Legend says that Tsar Peter the Great of Russia only stayed in this house for 2 nights on December 17th and 18th 1716. During this visit Tsar Peter and Christoffel Brants (still according to legend) disagreed about the price of a dollhouse, where after the Tsar moved to a house at Herengracht 527 that belonged to a Muscovite named Soloffihoff. The dollhouse can now be seen at the Rijksmuseum because the Tsar thought it was too expensive.
Diary writer Bicker Raye reported on November 5th 1732 about Brants death and remembered the imperial visit and the fact that Brants received a hereditary Russian noble title from the great Russian and that he at the same time became councilor and resident of Russia.
After that Brants called himself Van Brants (it is not really clear why, because unlike the German “von”, the Dutch “van” is not a noble addition to a name. It only says something about where the person or his/her family comes from)
When van Brants died, he left behind 35 times 100,000 gulden.
He was buried in the round Lutheran church at the Singel at night and by the light of torches.
Since I took this picture the house has been restored and is no longer brown but grey. They kept the sentence in Latin that’s written over the third floor windows: SI DEUS PRONOBIS QUIS CONTRA NOS, which means: If god is with us, who can be against us?
This house is not one of the most beautiful, but I want to mention it, because one of its owners, Jacob Bicker Raye, has immortalized himself by writing a diary for 40 years, from 1732 to 1772.
In 1866, 91 years after Jacob Bicker Raye died, his diaries were found and sold to the city archive for 10 gulden.
The diary is a description of daily life in Amsterdam and sometimes in the Republic. It is a tale of humans coming and going, of important events, of domestic events, gossip and big and small crimes.
The drama at Herengracht 479 in 1768 (I told you about it in another post) is something we know about, because it was written about in Bicker Rayes diary.
On a randomly chosen page of the diary we can read that: “On May 13th 1734 a man in prison got a particularly hard punishment, because he, without any apparent reason, strangled another man to death. This was the second time he did such a thing and therefore he was placed in a special area, where no one can see or talk to him, and he has to stay there for 50 years.”