The Entrepotdok (Warehouse Dock) on Kadijkseiland (Dock Dike Island) in the eastern part of Amsterdam consist of 84 monumental warehouses, built between 1708 and 1829, which served to store goods for transshipment. The whole area was surrounded by a wall (at Laagte Kadijk and Entrepotdok) and could only be accessed through the main gate building on the Kadijksplein or by water.
The Main Gate
On the front of the main gate is the year it was built, flanked on both sides by a caduceus, staff of Mercury, god of trade. Inside the U-shaped building (the gallery has been closed off these days) were administrative offices. The gate was guarded by halberdiers and contained the homes of the director and the main administrator — the halberdiers’ quarters were near the water.
Architect De Greef also built the warehouses on the numbers 52-78 in 1828 and 1829. He designed a whole row of warehouses as one complex, with three adjoining warehouses forming a unit. Numbers 30-35 were designed by architect G. Moele jr. In 1885 the first thirteen warehouses crumbled and were replaced with lower storage sheds. The warehouses have an average width of 5 m (16.4 ft) and a height of 15 m (49 ft). The first 38 have a depth of 30 m (98.4 ft), and those from number 52 on have a depth of 40 m (131.2 ft).
A Little History
The oldest warehouses in this complex were built after 1708. Before the French period (1794-1814) goods in transit on the Amsterdam market were due to pay import and export taxes. In 1827 the warehouses became state-owned and a large renovation and expansion followed. The entrepot was established to circumvent these taxes, as the goods were stored only temporarily under strict customs surveillance. Taxes were due only as soon as the goods were distributed onto the market. Entrepot means “sealed storage”, the cargo being “entre” (French for “between”) origin and destination.
Many warehouses were named after Dutch and Belgian cities, the names still on the gables. From 1892 on the Entrepotdok lost its function as a warehouse for undeclared goods when the city built another block of warehouses (the Nieuwe Entrepotdok on Cruquiusweg) — the (old) Entrepotdok then became a normal storage facility. After the loss of the customs function by the end of the 19th century the buildings remained empty for a long time. The city took ownership of the complex — although these former warehouses were initially destined to be demolished, the first plans to convert them into apartments surfaced around 1970.
Converted to Apartments
Most buildings by that time were either damaged by fires or by lack of maintenance, but the foundations and structure were mostly good enough. Although initially plagued by financial viability, the social housing project did get the go-ahead. The ground floors were to become business units, home storage and garages. The upper layers would become inner courtyards to give access to the apartments. The apartments were finished in phases from 1982 until 1984.
The so-called Kalenderpanden (Calendar Buildings) on Entrepotdok 87-98 were named after the months of the year. These warehouses, finished in 1840, were the first buildings in the Netherlands to use cast iron in the supporting structure. They have 208 slender columns in large open spaces on the top floors. After the City Energy company (GEB) left the terrain in 1993 the city rented the warehouses to a second-hand merchant for a while. The buildings were squatted in the late 1990s and evicted in 2000 after a prolonged fight, then transformed into private sector apartments. All warehouses on the Entrepotdok now have protected monument status.
The northwest end of the canal connects to the Nieuwe Herengracht canal. Halfway along the Entrepotdok canal is the Entrepotdoksluis (a lock). The southeast end of the canal connects to the Plantage Muidergracht. The center of the warehouse complex can be reached over the Pelikaanbrug (Pelican Bridge) across the Nieuwe Vaart canal. The Nijlpaardenbrug (Hippo Bridge) is a drawbridge for cyclists and pedestrians connecting the southern part of the Entrepotdok canal with the Plantage Kerklaan.
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.