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Dam Square in 1656: mirror of the city as marketplace of the world

It is where Amsterdam started, a dam in the Amstel River, and it remained the central place in the city, soon also in a symbolic sense. In this 1656 painting by Johannes Lingelbach in our collection we see the Dam, with the new City Hall (now the Royal Palace) under construction. However, the painting wants to depict more than just a topographical place. It also wants to show what the city was like, at least according to the person who made or ordered the painting. It portrays Amsterdam as an international trading city where the whole world came to trade. The City Hall stands for wise government, the Nieuwe Kerk for piety, the Waag, the fishing  market and the traders waiting for the Stock Exhange for trade to start. Incidentally, the plague reigned in Amsterdam at that time.

door Johannes Lingelbach (schilder)


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