What the story of one 400-year-old house in Amsterdam can tell us about today's housing market
Most of us leave no lasting traces that recall our stay on the planet, but through accident and fate, Fransz left something that has endured the centuries. His house — an elegant redbrick step-gable, its facade ornamented with sandstone bands and wooden cross-framed windows, a building that has more of the Renaissance than the Baroque about it — still stands. Napoleon and Hitler conquered Amsterdam in their separate centuries; later, postmodern architects and the sex and soft-drug industries made their marks. Pieter Fransz's house withstood all.
The Dutch have always been meticulous recordkeepers, so it is possible to follow this house, and others nearby it on Amsterdam's famous Herengracht, or Gentlemen's Canal, as they make their way through the centuries: to watch the succession of doctors, diamond cutters, confectioners, merchants and politicians move in and out, to glimpse the births and deaths, to watch careers and families unfold. More to the point, it's possible to follow the successive property transactions in this area of Amsterdam from the time it was developed to the present.
In itself, this isn't exceptional: other European cities have land registers that date to the Middle Ages. What makes Pieter Fransz's neighborhood unique — and uniquely interesting to some economists who are studying today's global real-estate boom and wondering whether the bubble that has been expanding for the past decade and more is in the process of bursting — is what real-estate experts call a constant quality index....
comments powered by Disqus
- New documentary explores the legacy of the 5,000 Rosenwald schools set up by a Sears magnate and Booker T. Washington
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- It happened in Idaho and was the largest massacre of Indians in US history, but where exactly did it take place?
- Junípero Serra’s Missions Destroyed Entire Native Cultures. And Now He’s Going to Be a Saint.
- Isis destruction of Palmyra's Temple of Bel revealed in satellite images
- Two scholars from UT object to the Texas school's decision to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis
- A history professor explains why Americans are so prone to conspiracy theories
- Now Greg Grandin has come out with a study of Henry Kissinger
- Japanese historian upends the familiar narrative of WW 2 by taking a bottom up approach, focusing on fascism from the grassroots
- Holocaust-denying historian David Irving organises 'disgusting' £2,000-a-head holiday tours of former concentration camps and Hitler's HQ so people can 'make up their own mind about the truth'