What’s Pumping at Polder?

By Saga Norrby

In the past days, what looks like a bathtub made of white bricks with a giant old-fashioned metal faucet has appeared in the middle of the floor of Café Restaurant Polder. What it really is, is a restoration of an original water trough and pump, dating back to when Polder was a farm. As Polder is a cultural heritage site, the pump should never have been taken away, and the municipality of Amsterdam has given Polder until today, Wednesday, to restore it and avoid a fine.

Around a year ago, municipal representatives responsible for monumentenzorg, monument care, visited Polder and made it clear they wanted the pump back in place, according to Ilias Spanjer, employee at Polder. Spanjer said the restaurant has since been in touch with the municipality about how to best go about it. The municipality set a deadline, and with a few days to go, the restoration began. This Monday the municipality paid Polder another visit, making sure the work was proceeding as planned.

The main building of Polder was renovated on the inside three years ago. According to Spanjer, a builder who was unaware the monument was supposed to stay intact then took away a chunk of it. “After that we decided to take away all of it,” said Spanjer with a shrug, adding that he does not think the return of the pump is much of a story.

While the little stable beside the main building of Polder dates back to the late 1700s, the bigger house is from the early 1900s. It was built as a combined cowshed and living quarters, after the original farmstead burnt down in 1910. The living quarters were situated in the end closest to Amsterdam University College, and the cows resided in the vaster room behind – where the pump and trough provided them with water.

The reconstructed trough is made of new bricks, but the pump is original. Where has this monument been in the three years since it got removed? Hans van Twist, co-owner of Polder, chuckled and said, “Oh, just somewhere out in the garden.”

The municipality of Amsterdam could not be reached for a comment.

Those who understand Dutch can read about the history of Polder as a restaurant here. The history of Polder as a farm was covered by Folia in 2010, on page 14-17 of this issue – also in Dutch.


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