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It started with a dime

Brickwork and water jet cut aluminum
Mauritskade, Amsterdam
Realisation: 2013
Commissioner: Woonstichting The Key
Art Advisor: Marieke Gerritsen
Photo’s: Hans Peter Föllmi / Marjet Wessels Boer

The ‘dime houses’ from 1870 were one of the first social housing projects in the Netherlands. They are the result of a group of idealistic workers who, by asking a dime a week for membership, founded in 1868 the Building Society for Home Ownership (BVEW).
The little houses are situated perpendicular to the busy Mauritskade and were hidden behind a blank wall. To give the passersby a sense of the intimacy of this small dead-end street and to make them curious to the particular history of the dime houses, artist Marjet Wessels Boer transformed the blank wall into a magnified brick type case.

Originally a type case was used by a typesetter to store type. In this way, the work refers to the newspaper that the BVEW released to raise members for BVEW. In more recent times a type case is primarily used as a display case in which souvenirs and objets trouvés are proudly shown.

Wessels Boer also uses the type case as a display case. She collected personal and historical stories of the dime houses and translated them into aluminium silhouettes. The objects engraved with house numbers are proposed by current inhabitants. The result is a motley collection of objects, from carpet beater to elephant. Together the silhouettes outline the history of a unique place in Amsterdam. The stories behind each object can be found at www.dubbeltjespanden.nl

This work is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts).