Essential Architecture-  Amsterdam



early Renaissance A'dam Renaissance plain A'dam Renaissance
(Kok 1946)

From about 1570 onwards stone houses were built on a large scale. This development coincides with the ascendancy of the late Renaissance style we call Mannerism. This style was popularised in The Netherlands by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502-1550) who published translations of the world-famous treatises on architecture written by Vitruvius and Serlio. Another important book which helped to promote the new style was Architectura by Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-1606). The author based himself partly on Coecke van Aelst and published his collection of decorations between 1656 and 1577. Key figures were the Harlem sculptor Lieven de Key (1560-1627) and his Amsterdam colleague Hendrick de Keyser (1565- 1621). They became the founding fathers of the Dutch (as well as the Amsterdam) Renaissance.

The Dutch Renaissance style can be subdivided into 4 phases:

Early Renaissance (circa 1540 - circa 1600)
Dutch Renaissance (circa 1600 - circa 1615)
Amsterdam Renaissance (circa 1615 - circa 1640)
Plain Amsterdam Renaissance (circa 1615 - circa 1665)
Striking features of Renaissance architecture are the use of red brick facades with alternating strips of white sandstone (popularly called ‘rashers of bacon’) and relieving arches above the windows (relieving arches serve to divide the weight of the bricks above the lintels more evenly by diverting the pressure towards the frame posts).


Special thanks to the Amsterdam Bureau of Monuments and Archeology website,