On view

A Genious Plan

The Canal House

Herengracht 386, Amsterdam (NL)

The Canal House tells the story of the ring of canals in Amsterdam. It illustrates why the area of the ring of canals is so unique and why it is still so alive after 400 years. Although it is the most important tourist attraction in The Netherlands, with some 3 million visitors a year, its story has not been told before in such a way. The granting of the UNESCO world heritage status to the area in August 2010 makes the story even more relevant. The seventeenth-century ring of canals is an international icon of architecture and city planning.

Amsterdam (NL)
Het Grachtenhuis
380 m2
Spatial design, Furniture and Graphic design,
Lighting design
Reinier Tweebeke
Kloosterboer Decor
AV, light and media control
Rapenburg Plaza
Made by Mistake, Florian Göttke
Tungsten Studio
Design and animations dollhouse
Dutch Igloo
Pastelle Music
Rooms 1 and 2

A sequence of five rooms on the first floor takes the visitor on a journey through time. The story starts in 1597. By means of a 3D model backed by a double projection, the circumstances are explained which urged the city of Amsterdam to expand so significantly. This is followed by a story about the development of the plans: who were the ones responsible for the uniquely planned expansion? Subsequently, a beautiful animation on a table will show you how the ring of canals was built.

Rooms 3 and 4

Here you see how the canal houses were built. A world of 3D models and animations demonstrate how Amsterdam is built on wooden piles. The fourth room allows the visitor a glimpse of living in a canal house. A miniature canal house shows how people used to live in canal houses throughout the centuries. By using ‘Pepper’s ghost’ technique the rooms seem to be inhabited by real people.

Room 5

In the last room, an enormous model of the ring of canals area takes central stage. Wall panels, which refer to the decorative paintings by Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819) on the main floor, bring the canals to life. Here the visitor will truly travel through time, from when the area had just been built to the most recent Gay Pride.

On the ground floor you can enjoy some wonderful historically decorated rooms where you can listen to stories about famous residents of the Canal House.


Gouden Reiger 2012

Spatial Media, winner

SBID International Design Awards 2012