DE PIJP – home to Amsterdam’s great unwashed

De Pijp is an area of Amsterdam much loved by locals and usually bypassed by visitors. A pity for them.

It is known as Amsterdam’s Latin Quarter.

The IAMsterdamtourism campaign is trying to promote more visits to de Pijp, and from their website we downloaded a map and walking tour of the area.

The public bathhouse

If I had to choose one building to sum up the history and character of de Pijp, this 1920s public bath-house would be it. The authorities became concerned about the great unwashed who had flooded into de Pijp – students, artists and prostitutes. None of them had bathrooms in their apartments.

Records were kept on individual residents’ visits to the public facilities. The recommended number of visits per year was 52 – a bath once a week, whether it was needed or not.

By 1945, the average number of visits stood at 5 per year. By the 1950s this had jumped to 10 baths a year.

Now it stands at 0 – the bath-house is closed, and everyone has at least a shower cubicle in their house. And a loo too.


Filed under Holland

2 responses to “DE PIJP – home to Amsterdam’s great unwashed

  1. Jan

    De Pijp looks inviting. Don’t the old buildings in a city tell interesting stories; it’s such a shame when they are swept away to make room for modern buildings. I remember seeing bath houses in London when I was young (after the Romans left). You would at least be on nodding terms with people in the local community if you met at the bath house.

    • Even when I first lived in Amsterdam in the late 1970s few of our friends had bathrooms in their houses. We too went to the public baths – but about three times a week, I recall.

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