Jurjen Vis

Muziek en Geschiedenis

The Book Trade in the Poort

‘The Book Trade in the Poort’, in: Quaerendo 37, 2 (2007), 111-146.

After a general introduction on Jews in the book trade by Dr Adri K. Offenberg, a brief history is given of the original eighteen arched shop stalls in the passageway of the Oudemanhuispoort [the Old Men's Home Gate] in the centre of Amsterdam, where luxury articles were sold from 1757 to 1831. In that year the city council took over the management of the shopping arcade from the Regents of the Old Men's Home, and other uses for the stalls were found. In 1876 the city council relocated Amsterdam's daily book market from the Botermarkt (today's Rembrandtplein) to the Poort (the local abbreviation of Oudemanhuispoort), in the neighbourhood of the premises used by the newly founded University of Amsterdam. From this period until the 1990s the history of the predominantly Jewish booksellers who leased the stalls is dealt with. Particular attention is given to the families Lobo and De Wolff, Boekman, Van Kollem and Mossel, Blok, Kokernoot, Emmering, Frank and Pfann; many of these expanded their businesses into shops elsewhere in town, only a very few surviving the deportations during the Second World War. After 1945 different times brought different names as stallholders – but though the number of stalls in the Poort may have declined over the years, trade in second-hand books, periodicals, maps and prints continues there to this day.

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