Once again my favourite Saturday market, the Lindenmarkt has provided me with the subject of my blog post; flat-pack, miniature gable houses. Eat your heart out, IKEA! Since, realistically, these are the only canal houses I’ll ever be able to afford I couldn’t resist snapping them up. They would make perfect Sinterklaas/Christmas gifts if you fill them with pepernootjes, or other spicy Dutch biscuits. They are too small for a bottle of wine but large enough for a bottle of Jenever (Dutch gin). Not only attractive presents, they are also educational. Each design features a different gable, representing some of the designs found along Amsterdam’s Ring of Canals.
The Bell Gable 1660-1790
Dating from the 17th century and popular over a long period of time, the Bell gable, appropriately enough mimics the shape of a church bell. The widest Bell gable ever built can be seen at number 359 along the Prinsengracht.
The Tuit Gable 1620-1720
This was the gable design used by merchants to denote warehousing and trade, rather than residential property. Resembling an inverted funnel, the Tuit gable became common along the Brouwersgracht in 17th and 18th century. After the decline of Dutch supremacy in international trade, many owners replaced their elaborately decorated gables with the plainer, Tuit gables. Today, however, far from reflecting austerity, they are only affordable to the happy few.
The Neck Gable 1640-1775
From the 18th century on, the Neck gable became very popular and provided Amsterdam with a unique variation on gable trends. The ‘klauwstukken’ or ornamental hoods, elaborated upon a very basic façade and shape. The Neck gable embraced the architectural style of Louis XIV. The first Neck gable ever constructed was built along the Herengracht at number 168. Built in 1638, it still stands today.
The Step Gable (Trapgevel)1620-1790
In the 17th century, the Step gable was very common in the Old Centre of Amsterdam where vast numbers of this beautiful gable lined the canals and streets of a vibrant, bustling merchant city. These days only around a hundred are left; due to the fact that many rich Dutch entrepreneurs adapted their homes to a more fashionable architectural style in the 18th century.
Next time I cycle along the canals I will be gable-spotting much more intently! These miniature houses are for sale at a stall on the Saturday Lindenmarkt, company contact details here. I believe these ‘All In The House’ gable miniatures are also on sale at the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. Enjoy!