Joppe Schaaper Reflection (JV)

Joppe Schaaper’s presentation helped supplement the information explained in Delta Urbanism. His explanation of the “Golden Age” gave a more human perspective to the architectural and technological information in the reading. Through the video, I learned that the economic prosperity occurring during this time was largely attributed to immigrants. It was interesting how Schaaper connected religious tension and persecution to the rise of immigrants. I also appreciated his explanation on how the respective Protestant and Catholic crosses influenced church architecture. Understanding the background behind the economic prosperity and influx of immigrants, it makes more sense why Amsterdam felt the need to display civic pride and wealth by building the canal ring as mentioned in Delta Urbanism. Also, this increase in people explains why Amsterdam expanded so rapidly in an “onion-like” shape as seen in the image above.

In addition, commercialization was a key idea mentioned in Delta Urbanism since the Dutch strategically planned their incorporation of city waterways around trade. Schaaper also highlighted commercialization when he talked about how the warehouses were built in direct contact with the trading ships. Besides using the canals for trade, it was very popular to live near the water for convenient transportation. I enjoyed learning about the exclusive canal houses in Grachtenboek. These expensive houses reminded me of how Delta Urbanism described W.N Rose’s canal belt as “a new residential environment for the urban upper class”(87). Overall, Delta Urbanism does a good job of explaining the construction of Amsterdam, but Schaaper builds upon this information by explaining the thought process and symbolism behind the construction. Schaaper also connects more to recent events such as the Black Lives Matter movement and briefly talked about how there is a discussion over whether the so-called “Golden Age” was really such a prosperous time period for all people. 

Questions:

  • Did the construction created in the Golden Age reflect the different cultures of the immigrants or was the city’s design mainly uniform?
  • How did the Dutch’s idea of controlling/reclaiming nature co-exist with the ideals of the Protestant church? Was there conflict?
  • The Golden Age was praised for its tolerance of different cultures. Do you think this tolerance has remained in Dutch culture today?
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2 thoughts on “Joppe Schaaper Reflection (JV)

  1. The main theme across time was the rapid expansion of Amsterdam; however, the architecture and city planning of the new additions to the city were not uniform. I enjoyed Schaaper’s explanation of the Amsterdam School design versus the New Objectivity design. It was interesting to see how each design informed the natural landscape of the city. For example, during the height of the Amsterdam School, the canals were very narrow; thus, attention was drawn to the ornate houses and buildings lining the water. Contrastingly, the New Objectivity design valued space and placed emphasis on nature rather than architecture. This was shown in the open concept buildings of Amsterdam New West. Often a significant event is a catalyst for the adoption of a new design/thought process. Was there a specific event that caused the shift from the Amsterdam School design to the New Objectivity design?

    In addition to new architecture and urban design, the Dutch government also tried to spread out the population through the Growth Core Policy otherwise known as Groeikernenbeleid. Schaaper’s explanation of this policy reminded me of how Delta Urbanism talked about the government’s desire to control the growth of cities in the Randstad. Amsterdam and Rotterdam were included in this area. This was because “the merging of these growing cities into one large metropolis was considered a threat to social harmony” (83). This concern for “social harmony” demonstrates that the Dutch believed that space within a city contributes to a better society.

    Overall, the Dutch continued to build with intention; however, their values changed to prioritize nature and space. I am wondering if the current design in Amsterdam still is closely aligned with the New Objectivity design? Also, how has the increase in tourism affected Amsterdam’s relationship with space and the incorporation of nature into the city? Have the canals been over-run with tourists and is traffic a significant issue?

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