The architect of the oldest bakery in Amsterdam, Gerrit van Arkel
Before you enter our bakery, Hans Egstorf, you will undoubtedly look up once. Just before you are enchanted by the scent of fresh bread and pastries, your eye will already fall on the beautiful building in which our bakery is located. Our bakery is the oldest active bakery in Amsterdam. The building, where fresh bread and pastries have been rolling out since 1898, was designed by architect Gerrit van Arkel. His characteristic style, often described as busy, richly decorated, and eclectic, has been defining for the bakery. Our bakers are extremely proud of this. That's why we would like to tell you a little more about the architect of our bakery located at Spuistraat 274.
Gerrit A. van Arkel was born on April 3, 1858, in a large family in Loenen aan de Vecht. In addition to regular primary school, he attended the so-called French school for "young gentlemen" from better circles. There was no money for further education, so at the age of 14, he started working as an apprentice for a local carpenter and later for companies in Baarn and Amsterdam. When Gerrit moved to Amsterdam, he was able to take evening classes at the renowned Industrieschool der Maatschappij voor den Werkenden Stand, an education that produced many architects.
Van Arkel excelled and was immediately appointed as a teacher of architectural drawing at the age of 17. He would remain a teacher for six years. In 1876, he also became a draughtsman at the office of G.B. Salm, where he worked on projects such as the Artis Aquarium, the Amstelbrouwerij, and the building of the Vrije Gemeente, now known as pop temple Paradiso. Gerrit van Arkel was ready to establish himself as an architect at the age of 23. He started his career as an architect in 1882 together with W. Wilkens. Wilkens passed away two years later. On the list of national monuments is the house Plantage Middenlaan 36, the only surviving building designed by Van Arkel and Wilkens together.
From around 1890, Van Arkel began to design more in the Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) style. This can be seen in his most famous works: the house Keizersgracht 766 (1894), the Helios building on Spui (1897), our bakery on Spuistraat 274 (1898), the Astoria office building on the corner of Keizersgracht and Leliegracht (1905, together with H.H. Baanders) and the Asscher diamond cutting works in Tolstraat (1907). His last design, the office on the corner of Keizersgracht/Westermarkt (1919), shows some influence from the Amsterdam School.
Gerrit van Arkel moved to Abcoude in 1909, where he passed away in 1918. A large number of his designs have since been designated as national monuments or municipal monuments. Our bakers are proud every day when they step into the oldest bakery in Amsterdam. It is not for nothing that our customers, in addition to a beautiful stroopwafel, also like to take photos of the facade of our bakery. And we are more than happy to see those photos, so tag us at @HansEgestorf on Instagram.