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Willem van Zoetendaal

Amsterdam Stuff

By 07-03-2019

After being voted one of the Best Dutch Book Designs, Stuff was submitted to the international jury of ‘Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt’. The book design by Willem van Zoetendaal was awarded the Golden Letter at this prestigious competition.

Since July 22nd 2018 the North/South metro line is running right under the historic centre of Amsterdam. The construction of the metro line under the city between 2003 and 2012 provided an excellent opportunity to investigate this past by organizing archaeological excavations.

The main archaeological sites were situated on the Damrak and the Rokin. These excavations were very deep, as far as 25 m below ground, at which depth the layers of soil dated from the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. On top of these old layers the archaeologists found the riverbed of the Amstel which still runs through the city. The riverbed extends to a depth of 12 m and was full of archaeological finds. In the old days people often dumped their refuse in the water. Also objects fell in the river by accident and sunk  into the muddy river bed. The archaeological excavations produced almost 700,000 finds.

This book gathers the archaeological finds from the riverbed into a material history of the city. The catalogue, containing 15,000 photographs of the finds, can be read in a number of ways. At first glance it is a never-ending stream of different, more or less recognisable objects that invites us to browse and explore our own associations and reconstructions. But behind the cascading images lies an archaeological story that gradually emerges out of the systematic structure of the catalogue.

Schönste Bücher aus aller Welt – Golden Letter

Book ‘Stuff’
Book design: Willem van Zoetendaal
Photography: Harold Strak
Authors: Jerzy Gawronski & Peter Kranendonk
Publisher: Van Zoetendaal & De Harmonie