The Stadsarchief Amsterdam is the city archive and historical documentation centre. The archives host a vast collection of maps, drawings, prints, photos, films and audio relating to Amsterdam. It is freely open to the public and hosts regular exhibitions.
The archive is housed in an imposing former bank building known as De Bazel on Vijzelstraat in the centre of Amsterdam.
The building was designed by Dutch architect Karel de Bazel and was completed in 1926. Its brick expressionist style was common in buildings during the 1920s in the Netherlands and Germany.
The building was the original headquarters of NHM (Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, the Netherlands Trading Society). It was then an office for Algemene Bank which became part of ABN-AMRO bank. In 1999 the building was purchased by the city and was transformed into the city archives, opening in 2007.
For centuries the Dutch have been prolific record keepers and it’s no surprise that the Stadsarchief Amsterdam has one of the largest city archive collections in the world, with some 50km of archives. Due to its size, a proportion of the archive is being relocated to a new and environmentally-friendly depot building in Amsterdam Noord.
You can enter the Amsterdam Stadsarchief building from the entrance on Vijzelstraat and head into the main hall on the ground floor (level 0). A glass roof gives the hall some much needed natural light.
This main space often has a free poster-style exhibition about Amsterdam. There is also a reception desk and information centre behind.
If you head left, there is an exhibit (Werelderfgoed Podium) about all UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands. This includes Amsterdam’s historic canal district which was given the status in 2010.
Further down the hall is a bookshop which has many interesting items about Amsterdam (mostly in Dutch) and at the end of the hall there is a separate room which hosts temporary exhibitions.
At the other end of the main hall you can find Café De Bazel and a study room.
The basement levels hold a film theatre and the 2 level Treasure Room (Schatkamer) which was the former bank vault. This showcases a permanent collection of documents and photos about the city.
The upper floors are generally not open to the public. Private guided tours of the building can be arranged in advance. There is also a walk-in tour (€7.50) at 1400 on Sundays in Dutch.
If there is an interesting exhibition on then the Stadsarchief is certainly worth popping in to visit.
Stadsarchief Essential Info
|Tue-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1200-1700, closed Mondays.
|Admission Prices (2024)
|The general public has free entry into the main hall of the building and to the Treasure Room, Film Room and Reading Room.
Special exhibitions require an entry fee, typically €10 for adults. There is FREE entry to children/youths 0-18, Museumkaart or I Amsterdam City Card holders.
Order the I Amsterdam City Card online here which includes free entrance to many Amsterdam attractions including paid Stadsarchief exhibitions.
|Stadsarchief is on Vijzelstraat between the Herengracht and Keizersgracht canals. From Amsterdam Central take metro line 52 to Vijzelgracht station which is about 7-8 mins walk away.
Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Vijzelstraat 32, 1017 HL Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 251 1511, amsterdam.nl/stadsarchief/
Last updated 29 January 2024, first published in 2019.
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