Outdoor exhibition: Then & Now

Photographs of the Waterlooplein neighbourhood around 1960

Welcome to the Waterlooplein neighbourhood of Philip Mechanicus. With this mobile website you can take a walk around the neighborhood and view photos which Philip Mechanicus made ​​around 1960 in this neighborhood. On the map below you can see where you have to go to view the next photo. [In Dutch?]

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The walk
Walk and click to a point on the map. You will see a photo of Philip Mechanicus he made on that spot. Start at  location 1.
Go to: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

10 9 8 7 6 1 2 5 3 19 4 11 16 15 14 12 13 18 17 Start the walk

About the walk
Today the Waterlooplein neighbourhood, where you are now, is a modern area of the city, with large office buildings and blocks of new apartments. In the past, it was the heart of Amsterdam's Jewish quarter, a vibrant working-class area with narrow streets and pathways. For centuries, thousands of poor Jews lived shoulder to shoulder here, in one of the most colourful parts of the city.

During the Second World War, most of the people who lived here were deported and murdered. After a long period of decay, the old neighbourhood was demolished once and for all in the 1960s.

Photographer Philip Mechanicus (1936-2005) grew up in this neighbourhood. Around 1960 he made a visual record of the melancholy scenery of his childhood - the demolition sites and ruined buildings, the boarded-up houses, the atmosphere of loss and emptiness. At the same time, he had an eye for the cheerful bustle of the market and the playfulness of the children in the street. His photographs tell the story of a hard-hit neighbourhood whose surviving residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, were trying to rebuild their lives after the war. Taken on the eve of the great demolition, they are also the last images of the once-thriving Jewish community in the Amsterdam city centre.

Philip Mechanicus exhibiton in the JHM
Come to the Jewish Historical Museum for more photos of Philip Mechanicus in the major retrospective of his work from May 24 to October 27, 2013.