The Amsterdam inner city contains many old buildings that are not really old. These national monuments are partly or entirely ‘ fake ‘ because they are completely restored, rebuilt or reconstructed too drastic.
This is the result of the paper Het Parool who went with experts along the Amsterdam canal houses. These experts know that dozens of Amsterdam buildings strictly speaking according to the national cultural heritage (RCE) should be removed of the monuments list a long time ago.
The service uses today much stricter standards than the sixties and seventies, when these buildings became a monument. In the post-war years all involved were so glad that theold buildings in the Centre of Amsterdam were restored, there was less attention for the way it was done.
Many houses were rebuilt brand new. In some national monuments is no percent old material left, because they were copied exactly as they were earlier. And they stayed being a national monument. Other buildings were not ‘ new rebuilt ‘ to the look as they were, the nineteenth century but in the style of the 17th century. Gerrit Vermeer restoration person, art historian and lecturer at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), says that with some restorations of national monuments there are entire floors were extra built to cover the costs of the renovation. A good example is the residential house on the brouwersgracht 52. It is also for laymen evident that the monument is no longer the original building. Another cause was sometimes the restoration architect had insufficient documented evidence. So there are partly fabricated properties on the list of national monuments. An example is Herengracht 361, a canal house that most recently had a roof, but then was “new rebuilt” to a seventeenth century building. That would be according to current standards out of the question.
The RCE is currently working on the clean up of the ‘ monuments ‘ list. Experts fear that the RCE discussion around the Amsterdam landmarks will be an opportunity to get some of the list. They hesitate therefore to designate the controversial buildings. The pioneers of the Amsterdam restoration were Ruud Meischke, the first Director of the Office of monuments, Henk Zantkuijl, his later successor and Geurt Brinkgreve, founder of the Association Friends of the Centre of Amsterdam.
According to Theo Rouwhorst, the man from the drawing room of the Office of monuments that carried out some of the controversial restorations, it would be beter if monuments and other old buildings in the city should be better documented and justified. He comes at the end of this year with a book about this.