Urban development and transformation on Amsterdam’s waterfront, 1590-1900

Author(s): Ranjith Jayasena

Year: 2014


In the 1590s Amsterdam’s eastern soggy foreland stretching from the sea dike and the open water of the IJ harbour was transformed into islands, designated for shipbuilding. Here both private shipyards and these of the Admiralty and Dutch East India Company (VOC) operated, until the maritime quarter shifted to new raised islands of the city extension of 1663. Subsequently the old islands transformed into a living area that gradually turned into densely populated neighbourhoods with slums on alleys of both one-chamber dwellings and industrial workshops such as a smithy. Archaeological research by the City of Amsterdam Office of Monuments & Archaeology at these locations revealed a variety of structures, such as revetments, shipyards, sheds, houses and the material culture from privies and deposits of landfill that, in combination with documentary evidence, provide multiple lines of evidence on the nature and extent of urban development at Amsterdam’s waterfront, material culture as a reflection of the process of landfill and domestic refuse and the living conditions in a neighbourhood.

Cite this Record

Urban development and transformation on Amsterdam’s waterfront, 1590-1900. Ranjith Jayasena. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437104)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-57,02