It started with a dime
Brickwork and water jet cut aluminum
Commissioner: Woonstichting The Key
Art Advisor: Marieke Gerritsen
Photo’s: Hans Peter Föllmi / Marjet Wessels Boer
In 2012, The housing foundation The Key renovated a row of dubbeltjeswoningen, or “dime houses,” on the Mauritskade. Originating in 1870, the dime houses were the result of a group of idealistic workers who, by asking a dime a week for membership, founded the Building Society for Home Ownership (BVEW).
The dime houses have had many different kinds of inhabitants over the years; nevertheless a constant feature has been solidarity among residents. The little dead-end street serves as a communal area for residents, and is carefully decorated with many plants, seating and adornments. When passing the larger buildings along the Mauritskade, this small, angled street could go easily unnoticed. Hidden behind a blank wall, (though often marked by graffiti), this neighborhood showed nothing of its sociability.
The wall is now transformed into a magnified type case filled with aluminum displays. At the time of the BVEW the type setting machine was newly invented and instrumental in spreading their campaign ideals. The type case (used initially by a type setter) was later used in the home as a display case for collectables.
With this brick type case I want to soften the sharp contrast of the busy surroundings and give the passerby a sense of the history and intimacy of the dime houses. The objects in the case refer to the people and stories of the dime houses. The objects engraved with numbers (for instance 26a / 19b) are proposed by current inhabitants and refer to their house numbers. The stories behind each object can be found at www.dubbeltjespanden.nl
This work is supported by the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts).