Spui 10A, Amsterdam

The Building at Spui 10A

At Spui 10A you find a building created in 1891-1892 for furniture and carpet shop H.F. Jansen, designed in Eclectic (new French Renaissance) style by architect Eduard Cuypers (1859-1927). Some 300 people were employed here in various work­shops, sewing rooms and offices. Jansen previously had a steam-carpentry factory with 170 employees on Spui in three old ware­houses, but they burned down in 1891. When the new building on Spui 10 was finished, Jansen moved his shop here. Founder Hendrik Frederik, 74 years old, died in 1893, one year after the opening of the new building. His fours sons continued the business.

Spui 10A, Amsterdam, seen from the Spui side

Spui 10A seen from the Spui side, on the ground floor Restaurant Rouhi (December 2021).

The building rests on 687 pine piles of 12 m (39 ft) length. The corner element, created by Atelier Van den Bossche & Crevels, once held three big brass plaques: “H.F. Jansen et Fils“, “Fournisseurs de la Cour” and “Installations Decoratives“. In 1911 Queen Wilhelmina granted the company the right to carry “Royal” in their name as purveyors to the court. The company closed in 1948, when none of the remaining family members was interested in continuing the business. The building became a national monument in 2001.

Builder's estimate for Spui 10A, Amsterdam, from 1891 and photo by Max Büttinghausen from 1900

On the left: builder’s estimate for Spui 10A from 1891. On the right: photograph of the building around 1900, taken by photographer Max Bütting­hausen, who lived across at Spui 15 in the Helios building (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

A Renowned Interior Decorator

What started as just another furniture shop in 1840 had become a firm with a solid reputation by the end of the 19th century, even abroad, and they won many prizes in various expositions. Clients ranged from rich citizens with their town villas, to rich entrepeneurs with their country houses, official organizations, the Beurs van Berlage, a hall in the Willet-Holthuysen house, the regents room in the Maagden­huis and even the Dutch Royals.

Drawing by Herminie Faucher-Gudin of the ground floor showroom on Spui 10A, Amsterdam, in 1892

Drawing by Herminie Faucher-Gudin of the ground floor show­room of the furniture store in 1892 (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Jansen took care of furniture and decorations for Paleis Het Loo, Paleis Soest­dijk and Paleis Noord­einde. In 1898 he crafted the gilded thrones in Louis-XVI-style for the coronation of Queen Wilhelmina in the Royal Palace on Dam square. They were in use again when King Willem-Alexander was crowned in the Nieuwe Kerk in 2013.

Top part of the corner decoration of Spui 10A, Amsterdam

Top part of the corner decoration of Spui 10A, created by Atelier Van den Bossche & Crevels (December 2021).

Famous in Paris

Son Johannes Henricus, his name frenchified to Jean-Henri, was all the rage in Paris for quite a long time. Maison Jansen at Rue Royale 6 existed there since 1881. In 1911 he created a large 5-story work­shop in the Rue Saint Sabin, “Les Ateliers de Maison Jansen”, employing 800 stylists and crafts­men, and the company had a world­wide network of offices. For more than a century their work was much loved by inter­national high-society and royals: Paris, Côte d’Azur, Monte Carlo, London, New York, Buenos Aires, Havana, Caïro and the Kennedy’s White House in Washington.

Lower part of the corner decoration of Spui 10A, Amsterdam

Lower part of the corner decoration of Spui 10A, created by Atelier Van den Bossche & Crevels (December 2021).

Johannes Jansen was well-respected in the Paris art scene. He was co-founder and administrator of the Salon d’Automne since 1903, still existing today. He died in 1928 on his estate near Versailles. The firm met with financial difficulty when the Shah of Persia failed to pay a millions bill for the decorations of an exorbitant feast in 1971, just before his reign ended. Johannes had arranged competent successors, but after 109 years the famous design housed closed the doors in 1989.

Spui 10A, Amsterdam, seen from the Spui in the direction of the Kalverstraat

Spui 10A seen from the Spui in the direction of the Kalver­straat (December 2021).

Other Occupants of the Building

One of the tenants of the office space was the HWAL (Holland West-Afrika Lijn) between 1929 and 1969. They were one of the steamer lines maintained by the Verenigde Neder­landsche Scheep­vaart­maat­schappij (VNS or United Dutch Shipping Company), hence the building was also known as the Africa House. From 1975 on the famous book shop Scheltema, Holkema & Vermeulen was located here, before they moved to the Konings­plein in 1985. From 1985 until 2019 the building housed clothing shop Esprit with an adjacent lunchcafé of the same name. Today the building belongs to the Rituals chain, with restaurant Rouhi on the ground floor.

Side view of Spui 10A, Amsterdam

Side view of Spui 10A, now House of Rituals chain (December 2021).

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