Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bath Houses in Amsterdam??

Yeah, there were!

The one in Javaplein, I first saw when I visited Kaustubh in his old house at Ceramplein. Noticing its tower and its extraordinary architecture, I thought it was an arab-style mosque, with that tower being its minaret.

The photo is from a blog by Kees; from his entry entitled "a € 29.95 brain"

Later, I noticed the label "Bad Huis" on it, which I knew to mean "bath house". More interesting was to realize that there were people inside having drinks etc. This made me think that I probably was wrong to translate "Bad Huis" since it does not make sense to name a restaurant as "Bath House".

Then, Maikel the saviour helped me :). I summarized him all this one day and asked him what "Bad Huis" meant. To my surprise that place was really an old public bath house of Amsterdam, which has later been converted to a restaurant. It was really weird to me. I thought there was no bath houses at all in europe; with it being a tradition in Turkey (hamams), or in other asian countries..

I have made a search on internet but I could not bump into any detailed information. I only learned that it was a municipal bath-house, where the poor would come for their weekly shower (look interesting!). This info made me think that it was really in old times (eg. a century ago). But somewhere else, it says that it has been built in 1942, which is notably recent to me.

I still wonder the reasoning behind to build such houses in the city. Was it like having water in their houses was a luxury for the poor at the time?
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