Felix Meritis Amsterdam
Unique doors in renovated cultural centre
The distinctive Felix Meritis building, situated on Keizersgracht in Amsterdam, has perhaps the most illustrious history of all the buildings in our capital. It was built in the eighteenth century, and in the 100 years that followed it served as a cultural centre for Amsterdam's wealthy bourgeoisie. Even today, the building continues to have a cultural role. The many different rooms offer excellent opportunities for a varied programme of exhibitions, lectures, and performances. Felix Meritis has been closed for the last three years for a large-scale renovation, during which the old wooden doors were replaced by Merford steel ones. However, fans of the original Felix Meritis building will hardly notice a thing: the doors are finished in wood, thus preserving their traditional aesthetic.
From cultural hotspot to CPN headquarters
Felix Meritis was built in the 1780s, in the then popular classicist style. The society of the same name was founded a few years earlier and was so successful that it decided to buy a few plots of land on Keizersgracht and build its own premises. The building had five rooms that were in keeping with the various disciplines in which the society was involved. As a result, each room has its own unique, distinctive character. However, Felix Meritis proved unable to maintain its success. The society was dissolved in 1888. Soon after, a printing works moved into the premises, followed by the Dutch Communist Party (CPN) which used the building as its headquarters from the 1940s onwards. The CPN also used it as a printing works; the communist daily newspaper 'De Waarheid' (The Truth) rolled off the presses here.
From the late 1960s onwards, the building was once again used for cultural activities. One of the halls was set up as a theatre and hosted alternative performances for young people. Famous Dutch singer Ramses Shaffy was the first to perform in the renovated space. The hall was then christened 'Shaffyzaal' and still bears this name today. In 1988, the European Centre for Art, Culture, and Science moved into the building, which offered space for cultural programmes. In 2014, Felix Meritis was bought by Amerpodia, which embarked upon the large-scale renovation of the cultural centre. Mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema opened the renovated Felix Meritis in September 2020.
Authentic and safe
The various rooms are situated directly above each other, and in some cases next to each other. This means that sound can easily travel between the halls. The doors supplied by Merford, almost all of which are double-leafed, help to prevent this. The doors keep sound on the right side of the door, and they also have fire-resistant properties. After assembly, the door leaves were expertly finished with wooden panels and mouldings, respecting the spirit of the original Felix Meritis building. If a gentleman from eighteenth-century Amsterdam were to walk into today's Felix Meritis, the only difference he would notice is the weight of the doors.