Inside the Industria building from 1916 on Dam square, corner with Rokin, is the Koninklijke Industrieele Grote Club (Royal Industrial Grand Society) at Dam 27. On May 14th 2022, when Amsterdam opened many normally closed venues for 24 hours, I was able to visit the inside of the Club, otherwise only available to members.
Captains of industry and entrepreneurs wanted to create an association to meet up and further their interests. When they were founded in 1913 they had 178 members. In 2013, at their 100th anniversary, they received the Royal predicate. These days they have around 1600 members.
Until 1957 this part of Damrak — between Dam and Zoutsteeg — had been called Vijgendam (Fig Dam). When the road had been widened in 1526, a cargo of figs (which had gone off) had been used to fill in a part of the water. The name stuck and was used from the 17th century on for the part of Dam square where the Industria building is now.
The northern part of the area, in front of De Bijenkorf, was called Visschersdam (Fisher’s Dam), after a fish market which was located there until 1841. The National Monument from 1956 is located more or less where that market was. Both names were dropped in 1957, when all of Dam square got its current name.
The Beurspoortje (Exchange Gate) was a small passage from the Vijgendam to Rokin and the old Exchange by Hendrick de Keyser (from 1611, demolished in 1835), located on the Rokin half in the water. The Beurspoortje was rebuilt later, a bit further back, as part of the Industria building.
When the Industria Building was created, Dam square was undergoing some major changes. At the start of the 20th century the Nieuwe Kerk and the Royal Palace were in fact the only large buildings on the square. Then one after the other large new buildings were constructed: warehouse Bijenkorf (Dam 1, from 1915), the Groote Club at the corner of Kalverstraat (Dam 16, remodeled in 1912-1914), clothing warehouse Peek & Cloppenburg (1914-1917, at Dam 20, now also Madame Tussaud’s) and the Industria Building (Dam 27, from 1916).
The Industria building, built between 1913 and 1916, was designed by architect Foeke Kuipers (1871-1954) in Rationalist style, inspired by Berlage’s Exchange. Each of the four sides is styled differently, to keep the building in harmony with the existing surroundings. Kuipers also designed the complete interior. The building with its tower and copper clad dome has been a national monument since 2001.
Nine older buildings were demolished where Industria now stands — the new building also replaced the former gate to the old Exchange (Beurspoortje). The new passage between Dam and Rokin was widened and moved a bit further back. During the build of the foundations for Industria in 1913, remnants were found of an old medieval lock, part of the dam in the Amstel river, once the barrier between Damrak and Rokin.
Industria was quite a modern building for the time, with an airconditioning system, full electric lighting and two elevators with sliding doors. The ground floor has several shops (Gassan Diamonds on the Rokin side) and the entrance to the Club at Dam 27. The Club uses the ground floor (entrance and reception), the 1st and 2nd floor. The 3rd, 4th and 5th floor previously housed offices, now hotel Twenty Seven. The current owner had major restorations done between 2014 and 2017 on the exterior and interior.
History of the Industrieele Groote Club
A reading society named Doctrina et Amicitia had been founded in Amsterdam in 1788, consisting of merchants, judges, notaries and civil servants. They were actually a political association (called Patriots), who opposed the Orangists. There was a period of political tension (1781-1787) between the supporters of Stadholder Willem V (1748-1806) and critical citizens, who saw him as the main cause for the decay of the Republic — they also wanted a more direct form of government, inspired by the same principles which fueled the revolutions in France and the United States. As a political association they weren’t allowed to gather openly after the House of Orange was put back in power, so they presented themselves as a reading society. Their building was located at Kalverstraat 4-8.
In 1872, just next door, gentlemen’s society the Groote Club was founded. In 1914 they had a new club house built at Kalverstraat 2, corner with Dam square. In 1922 they merged with Doctrina et Amicitia. That building was confiscated by the Germans during the Second World War, then sold to an insurance company. After the war, when the society could not buy back the building despite an earlier promise, they rented it until 1975.
In the last quarter of the 19th century Amsterdam had a period of large economic growth, with many new industries and merchants. Their captains, “nouveaux riches”, did not feel welcome between the old elite in the Groote Club from 1872 at Kalverstraat 2. So they decided to start their own society, the Industrieele Club, in 1913, initially with 178 members. Their new club house was the Industria Building at Dam 27, built in 1916. By then they had 300 members.
The earlier Groote Club merged with the Industrieele Club when in 1975 the rent for Kalverstraat 2 was considerably raised — the two continued together as the Industrieele Groote Club (IGC), since 2013 known as the Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club. Women were welcome to join the club since 1969. From 1971 the Nederlandsche Vrouwenclub (Dutch Women’s Club) was also housed here, until they moved to the Doelen Hotel in 2011.
Photo Gallery of the Industrieele Groote Club (May 2022)
Website of the Industrieele Groote Club: https://igc.nl/en/home
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