De Groote Club Doctrina et Amicitia
In 1788, the reading circle Doctrina et Amicitia was established. The members of the society were nearly all members of a then banned patriotic political grouping. They came from the Amsterdam mercantile classes, the judiciary, the notaries and the civil service. In fact reading circles at this time were the venues for meetings to form revolutionary committees.
Doctrina et Amicitia owned a extensive library of 8,000 titles, which was until 1975 still kept in what was to become the Groote Club. Part of it has now been incorporated into the library of the IGC.
In 1872, the Sociëteit de Groote Club was founded in order "to promote sociable intercourse between members in well-appointed surroundings". The building on the corner of the Kalverstraat and Dam Square was built for this purpose.
In 1922, Doctrina et Amicitia merged with the Sociëteit de Groote Club; they continued as the ‘Sociëteit De Groote Club Doctrina et Amicitia’ at No 1, Paleisstraat.
When the building was seized by the Germans during the Second World War and sold to the insurance company De Nederlanden van 1845, the Club was promised that they could buy the building back after liberation. Unfortunately, this promise was never made in writing. The Club eventually leased the building until 1975. The Club ran into financial difficulties, and could no longer afford the steeply increased rent. It eventually left the building in 1975. That same year, a merger with De Industrieele Club brought relief.
The two clubs decided to continue society life in De Industrieele Club's premises under the name ‘De Industrieele Groote Club’ (IGC).
De Industrieele Club
In April 1913, it was decided in the house of the entrepreneur D. Goedkoop Dzn to establish De Industrieele Club. The auctor intellectualis of the project was Mr G.L. Geveke. The idea was to establish a centre for the booming Dutch trade and industry. The founders were industrial magnates and other entrepreneurs from all over the Netherlands. It was a national association, established in Amsterdam.
De Industrieele Club was founded in 1913 with 178 members, but no building. Because important business could best be conducted in “refined and comfortable surroundings”, a club building had to be found quickly. The 'Industria' building was therefore constructed between 1913 and 1916 at Dam 27.
The building of De Industrieele Club was designed by the architect Foeke Kuipers in 1912. Construction work began in 1913. But because this part of old Amsterdam had been intensively built-up from the earliest days of the city, numerous relics of earlier ages had first to be removed.
During the excavation of the foundations, the remains of a derelict lock were found. It appears to be this lock which was the basis for the legend of the gunpowder barge, which led to the tradition of inviting children to beat drums in the Amsterdam stock exchange. It was built in the thirteenth century after a dam was put across the Amstel, and then rebuilt in 1402. A vaulted roof was built over the lock with houses on top, under which ships could pass with their masts struck. In 1594, work began on a major repair which was completed in 1597 after “most continuous labour”.
In 1608, construction work began on the Koopmansbeurs on top of the vaulting, on piles 50 to 60 feet in length. These foundations turned out to be inadequate when the building started to subside and crack. In 1659, the part above the lock was demolished and the vaulting restored. Many more repairs would follow, but in 1837 the building was eventually demolished.
But back to the builders of the 'Industria'. After the lock floor had been removed, in 1913, it emerged that the lock walls were not built on piles and they subsided under their own weight. Not without some difficulties (including a three-month concrete workers' strike and the outbreak of the First World War), the building was completed on 8 January 1916. It could then be officially opened by the then minister for agriculture, industry and trade, Mr. F.E. Posthuma. By now the Club boasted 300 members. Under the Articles of Association, these were businesses, not private members.
Having survived into the twenty-first century, the Club has more than proved its viability. The monogram ‘IC’ (i.e. 'Industria Crescens' or ‘growing though industry’) reflects its confidence in the future.
The interior design is a product of Dutch industry. Many experts played their part and even today the Club receives much praise for its splendid interior.
Originally, the society rented its rooms from the 'Industria' development company. The building was managed by a board of governors and a director, who was also the secretary and treasurer of De Industrieele Club. The Club had use of the ground floor, the first floor and a large part of the second and third floors of the ‘Industria’ building.
De Industrieele Groote Club (IGC)
As 'De Industrieele Groote Club' (the fruit of a merger between the Sociëteit de Groote Club and De Industrieele Club) club life has continued since 1975 at Dam 27, long the home of De Industrieele Club.
Today's membership consists of corporate members (originally traceable to De Indus¬trieele Club) and private members (deriving from the Groote Club ‘Doctrina et Amicitia’). In recent years, an active policy has seen the number of younger members and corporate members rise significantly.
The Club is a world of its own in the city where members and their guests can relax and enjoy themselves. The Club also offers an intimate network of like-minded people from the business world and other sections of society.