When this part of the canal belt was built in 1612, it was determined that the yards along the canal were intended for housing and the yards in the cross streets for shops and businesses. The lots in the side streets were relatively very expensive. This had to do with the building possibilities: unlike the canal lots, the entire plot could be built on, but the maximum building height was limited. The plots on the canal were much larger, though could only be partly built upon; the rest was for gardens. Living on the canal cost money and the shops in the side streets yielded money, it was thought. The corner yards, such as the yard on which Herengracht 236 is built, were very suitable for commercial functions due to their location and were even more expensive per square meter than the yards in the streets and along the canals. The houses on the corner yards have no rear-façade; only a front-façade. That makes Herengracht 236 a special building today. And what views from all the floors! It is also an advantage that the entire building is one private house, no neighbours above or below and no Association of Owners (VvE).
The original 17th-century building with its neck gable, can be seen in the drawing by Caspar Philips. In the 18th century, it was radically renovated, together with neighbouring building, No. 234, for a pastry chef. The bottom façade was adapted in 1899, whereby the two windows on the bel-etage were changed into the large display window that is still present. Although the façade has been adapted over time, particularly with regard to the window division, the 17th-century layout is still recognisable. For example, the entrance from the stoop, and the layout of the souterrain and bel-etage. The warehouse function of the attic is also clearly recognisable by the larger middle window on the top floor that used to be a hoisting hatch, the hoisting beam, and the remains of the hoisting wheel in the attic.
There are two entrances to the property; via the souterrain or via the stoop. In the stairs to the souterrain, you can clearly see how the street has been raised in the past. A nice detail is the recess in the blue-stone slab to avoid bumping your head. Traditionally, the souterrain is the place for the kitchen and it could now also be nicely placed here. The beams placed on its side with the wooden floor parts of the first floor in between give the space an extra historical character. The bel-etage can be reached via a modern staircase from the souterrain. This floor has a simple, nicely detailed flue and ceiling, matching the late 19th -century façade layout, which allows a lot of light to enter. Here is the same modern tiled floor as in the souterrain.
The other floors can be reached via the 17th-century spiral staircase with a round wooden spindle and beautiful curved and angled steps. The staircase is finished with sheet material and the steps are carpeted, but underneath are the old wooden steps that could be brought back into view. On the first-floor, the three windows give a fantastic feeling of connection with the street. The ratio of height, width and depth of the room and the simple black fireplace in the middle of the side wall create a very pleasant atmosphere and make this floor suitable as a living room.
The simple second-floor with fantastic views of the canal could be converted into a bedroom with bathroom. The upper attic floor has a white-painted visible roof with interesting parts of the roof construction. The warehouse function can be recognised by the larger center window and the hoisting wheel in the ridge beam. The sloping roof with many skylights makes this a very light space; the kitchen is currently located here. Note the funny window in the side wall that could light up the stairwell.
If you leave this national monument (no. 1779) through the front door on the bel-etage, take a seat on the bench on the stoop. This is the ideal place to sit outside in the summer. Around the corner is the Hartenstraat, one of the famous 9 streets, with many shops, cafes, coffee bars and restaurants. There has always been something to do in this part of the UNESCO World Heritage area since the early 17th century!
Text: Ir. Nanette de Jong, Conservation Architect
Photography: Gloria Palmer
Type of Property
Year of Build
Surfaces and Volume
Available Living Space
110 m² (including souterrain 21m2)
Number of Rooms
Number of Bedrooms
|Number of Bathrooms
|Total number of floors
AMSTERDAM F 7186 A2
East. On a central canal, in the centre of Amsterdam
Public parking, parking permits, paid parking
If you would like to receive more information about this property or schedule a viewing, please contact:
Anne Paul Brinkman
Brinkman Fine Real Estate
1015 BD Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 244 19 62