The Hollandsche Manege in Amsterdam is the oldest riding school in the Netherlands, dating back to 1744. The current building, inspired by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, was constructed in 1882. The building has been declared a rijksmonument (national monument).
In the Hollandsche Manege, the wealthy citizenry of Amsterdam and members of the Dutch royal house could practice their riding skills. The original Hollandsche Manege was built in 1744 and stood at the corner of the Lijnbaansgracht and Leidsegracht canals. The complex included stables for 60 horses and living quarters for a horse trainer (pikeur). On the upper floor of the horse trainer's house, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his sister Marianne gave a performance in 1766.
The riding school was demolished in 1881 when the Leidegracht canal was extended as far as the Singelgracht canal. To replace it, a new building in neoclassical style was constructed in 1882 at Vondelstraat 140, on the northeastern edge of the Vondelpark, which at that time was frequently used for horse riding. The new building was designed by the then-popular architect A.L. van Gendt, who also designed the Concertgebouw concert hall and the Amsterdam Centraal railway station.
The richly ornate interior features a main hall with balustrades and a cast-iron roof construction and a hallway from the lobby to the main hall with an iron and glass roof. In 1889 an extension was added onto the back side of the building, facing the street Overtoom. This extension, which included a carriage house, was demolished in 1969.
The present riding school has a stable of 35 horses and 15 ponies. The student riding clubs ASR BLOK and ASR H.O.R.S. have weekly training sessions in the Hollandsche Manege. The building is also used for dressage competitions. The building includes a publicly accessible café/restaurant and is rented out for receptions, weddings, and other events.
In the early 1970s, there were plans to demolish to Hollandsche Manege. Joop Ritmeester van de Kamp, chair of the organisation "De Hollandse Manege" (which managed the building), sought to demolish the building and build a new riding school in the Amsterdamse Bos, a manmade forest to the south of Amsterdam. The plans were scrapped after vocal protests, including a petition by art history students at the University of Amsterdam, who collected over 2,000 signatures against the demolition.
In 1986 the building underwent restoration. In 2007 it celebrated its 125-year anniversary. Since 28 May, 2009, the horses are no longer confined to the building but are also regularly let outside on the Koeienweide meadow of the adjacent Vondelpark.
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