A massive edifice of colored brick and stone enclosing three arcades with glass-and-iron roofs, the Koopmansbeurs (Merchants' Exchange, or Stock Exchange), as it was originally known, represented a revolutionary break with 19th-century Dutch architecture. Designed by Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934), the father of modern Dutch architecture and a Frank Lloyd Wright admirer, the old exchange's refined style illustrates Berlage's theories advocating a return to simplicity of form and clarity of line and structure. Now retired as an exchange, the refurbished building, constructed between 1896 and 1903, is used as a space for concerts, conferences, and exhibits. It's well worth visiting as an architectural masterpiece and a prime inspiration for the Amsterdam School of Architecture.
You can climb the 156 steps (there's no elevator) of the Beurs tower for a fine view of Old Amsterdam. On a corner of the facade facing Beursplein is a modern sculpture of Count Gijsbrecht II van Aemstel, who in 1204 built Amsterdam's first castle. Beursplein is dotted with plane trees and 19th-century wrought-iron streetlamps. The modern Effectenbeurs (Stock Exchange) is on the square's east side. Amsterdam's first stock exchange, which opened in 1611, was on nearby Rokin.
- © Frommer's 2013