Entrepotdok gate, Amsterdam


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.

Gate of the Entrepotdok seen from Kadijksplein, Amsterdam

Gate of the Entrepotdok seen from the Kadijksplein (June 2020).

Main building of the Entrepotdok on Kadijksplein, Amsterdam

The main building of the Entrepot­dok on Kadijks­plein, built in 1830 and designed by Jan de Greef (1784-1835) (June 2020).

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.

View from inside the Entrepotdok building, Amsterdam

View from inside the Entrepot­dok building (June 2020).

View from the Entrepotdok building, direction Kadijksplein

View from the Entrepot­dok building in the direction of the Kadijks­plein and the Scheep­vaart­museum (June 2020).

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).

Lower storage building on the Entrepotdok, Amsterdam

Lower storage buildings on the Entrepot­dok, replacements for the first thirteen collapsed warehouses (June 2020).

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.

Entrepotdok, Amsterdam, on a map from 1867

Under the lens the Entrepot­dok on a map from 1867.

Entrepotdok, Amsterdam, between 1870 and 1880

The Entrepot­dok seen from the side of the Nieuwe Heren­gracht towards the Plantage Muider­gracht, between 1870 and 1880.

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.

Warehouses on the Entrepotdok, Amsterdam, photo 1

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.

Warehouses on the Entrepotdok, Amsterdam, photo 2

Calendar Buildings

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.

View along the warehouses on the Entrepotdok, Amsterdam, photo 3

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.

Nijlpaardenbrug (Hippo bridge) across the Entrepotdok, Amsterdam

Nijlpaardenbrug (Hippo bridge) for cyclists and pedestrians across the Entrepotdok.

Loft of a warehouse on Entrepotdok, Amsterdam, in 1914

The loft of one of the warehouses in 1914.

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