274 Route 40. AMSTERDAM. Charities.
1632, was the son of a Portuguese Jew. The wealth of the Jewish
community still renders it one oi the most influential in the city. In
the numerous dissensions which formerly arose between the States
General and the Stadtholders, the Jews always took the part of the
In the Sint Anthonies Breestraat, near the W. end of the
Jodenbreestraat (PL F, 4), a simple memorial-tablet has recently
been placed on the house (No. 68) in which Rembrandt resided
from 1640 to 1656.
Amsterdam has from an early period been famous for Diamond Po¬
lishing, an art unknown in Europe before the 15th cent., and long confined
to the Portuguese Jews of Amsterdam and Antwerp, to whom most of the
mills at Amsterdam still belong. The most important are situated in the
Zwanenburgerstraat (PI. F,4) and the Roeterseiland (on the Achter Graacht,
in the E. part of the town; PL 4). Visitors are generally admitted by M.
Koster, Zwanenburgerstraat 12, daily, except Sat. and Sun., from 9 to 3,
and by other houses also (fee 50 c). The machinery of the mills is generally
driven by steam, and the diamond to be polished is pressed by the work¬
man against a rapidly revolving iron disc, moistened with a mixture of
oil and diamond dust. The latter is indispensable, as it has been found
that no impression can be made on diamonds by any other substance.
In a similar manner the stones are cut or sawn through by means of
wires covered with diamond dust.
Amsterdam is celebrated for its Charitable Institutions, up¬
wards of a hundred in number, destined for the reception of sick,
aged, and indigent persons, lunatics, foundlings, widows, etc., and
all almost entirely supported by voluntary contributions.
The Blind Asylum (PL 6; D, 5), Heerengracht 270, founded
in 1808, is one of the most admirable institutions of the kind. It
now contains 50-60 pupils between the ages of five and eighteen,
who receive lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, geography,
handicrafts, languages, and music. On Wednesdays from 10 to 12
the public are admitted while lessons are going on — a very interest¬
ing sight. Visitors are expected to buy some of the articles man¬
ufactured by the inmates, or put a contribution into the collecting-
box. — For blind persons of a more advanced age there is a special
asylum on the Stadhouderskade, which has about 80 inmates.
The poor-houses are handsome buildings, with excellent or¬
ganisation; thus, the Protestant Asylum for the aged of both sexes
(PL 53; G, 4), on the Binnen - Amstel, and the Hospice of St.
James, mentioned at p. 273. About 20,000 poor persons are said
to be maintained at the expense of the citizens. Many of the
orphans educated at the different asylums wear picturesque cos¬
tumes, which are seen to the best advantage on Sundays, especially
in the Kalverstraat. The children generally appear to enjoy excel¬
lent health and spirits.
The Maatschappij tot Nut van't Algemeen (PL 52; E, 3, 4),
or Society for the Public Welfare, is a very important body, whose
sphere of operations extends over the whole kingdom of Holland. It