The inner city of Amsterdam was abandoned for many years. The main image in our second poster, dating from 1980, shows how desperate the situation was in the Oudezijds Armsteeg. There are wooden beams across the whole alley, supporting the decrepit buildings on either side; and there is a mess of rubble and bricks blocking the entrance to the alley.
The four smaller images were probably all shot on the same day, in 1958.
The images in this poster have been reproduced from the Amsterdam Beeldbank (Photo Archive), with kind permission. Each image that we have used in the poster is shown below. If you click on the image you will be taken to the Beeldbank’s website where you can view the photo in high-resolution. The details described here below have been discovered simply by zooming in to examine the photos.
Looking from the Guldehandsteeg into the Oudezijds Armsteeg. The building to the left (Warmoesstraat 23) was abandoned, on the right (Warmoesstraat 25) was the offset printer, De Volharding; and there was a Mexican restaurant at Warmoesstraat 24. The signs of the youth hostel, The Last Waterhole, can be seen about half way along the Oudezijds Armsteeg, on the right hand side. Someone’s sports car and a van are parked in the alley.
Looking from the Warmoesstraat into the entrance of the Oudezijds Armsteeg. On the left, at Warmoesstraat 23, was (Cafe?) Leeuwarden. On the side wall is an advertisement for the bicycle business, belonging to K Smaling, in the Oudezijds Armsteeg. The sign reads, “Bakfietsen Verhuurderij, TE HUUR Alle Soorten Karren Stortkarren Dekzeilen Touw en Blok. Telefoon 10 ct per gesprek 45310 K Smaling” (Box bike Rental. FOR HIRE All Sorts of Trolleys Dumping carts Fencing Tarpaulins Rope and Pulley Telephone 10 cents per call 45310 K Smaling”). On the right, in Warmoesstraat 25, was the warehouse of the distiller Simon Pijper.
A little further into the alley you can just see the dove gable stone (gevelsteen), at Oudezijds Armsteeg 1, which still hangs to this day. Next door at Oudezijds Armsteeg 5, where a flag is hanging, is the Jeugdhonk C.O.B. (Youth Club C.O.B.).
Looking from the Oudezijds Armsteeg into the Guldehandsteeg. On the left, at Warmoesstraat 30, was the dairy shop, the Melkinrichting. The sign at the bottom of the window reads Zuivelproducten (dairy products). Through the window you can see two bottles of milk standing on the counter, in front of the scales. There are packaged rounds of cheese (?) neatly stacked in the window.
In the Guldehandsteeg are two parked cars; and someone’s washing is hanging out to dry just above the cars. The lamp post at the end of the Guldehandsteeg still stands to this day. The Damrak can be seen in the background. It looks like it was a foggy day, the buildings on the other side of the Damrak are just visible.
In the Oudezijds Armsteeg at the left edge of the photo you can just read part of Simon Pijper’s wall advertisement (see below), and on the right side is K Smaling’s wall advertisement.
Looking into the Oudezijds Armsteeg at numbers 6, 8 and 10. The sign above numbers 8 and 10 reads, “KARREN EN BAKFIETSEN TE HUUR K. SMALING” (CARTS AND BOX BIKES FOR HIRE). Number 6 probably also belongs to K Smaling: the paint looks similar and the number is in the same style as the other numbers.
At the right hand edge of the photo, the building at Oudezijds Armsteeg 4 can just be seen. There is some graffiti on this bit of wall; it reads “D.S”. It looks like it has been done in chalk, as part of the “S” has been rubbed out.
Looking from the Warmoesstraat to the corner of the Oudezijds Armsteeg. Simon Pijper’s wall advertisement can now be seen, “Simon Pijper Oude Genever Gijsbrecht van Amstel“, and the sign above the door reads, “Distilleerde[rij]“. Further in the alley K. Smaling’s buildings are visible, and the same piece of graffiti as in the previous photo can be detected, more or less pinpointing at least these two photos to the same period.