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Competition design Bank of the Netherlands head quarters

The board of De Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam decided in 1948 that a new bank building was needed. They wanted to have a grand new central building built on the site of the old bank and on the site between Oude Turfmarkt and Nieuwe Doelenstraat, which had been acquired over the years.

In February 1954 the board came up with a multiple commission, for which seven architects were invited: J.F. Berghoef, W.M. Dudok, M.F. Duintjer, J.H. Groenewegen, F.P.J. Peutz, C. Wegener Sleeswijk en H.T. Zwiers. Peutz was the only one who did not submit a plan.

The programme of requirements asked for an architectural design that would not disturb the characteristic ambiance of the old city centre, and that would add new beauty to its historic charm. The programme also called for a building that could be built in stages, so that business could continue during construction.

Participants were asked to revise their designs because none of the designs were satisfactory. Duintjer submitted another design as well and won the competition with it. The jury felt that he had successfully designed a building for 1,200 employees that easily fitted in with the scale of the city centre. The design was lauded for its solid plinth that "expresses the soundness and reliability of the bank".

Still, the design was not implemented. There was another candidate for the same site, namely the University of Amsterdam, and they planned to extend. Furthermore, the Amsterdam community was upset about the size of the new bank and the demolition of a number of listed buildings.

This prompted the mayor of Amsterdam to suggest an exchange of land to De Nederlandsche Bank: exchanging the Turfmarkt complex for a site on Frederiksplein, where the former Palace of Industry, which burnt down in 1929, had stood. Duintjer came up with a new design for this new site, and the new central building was built in 1961.


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