|The long, rich history of this building, located in the centre of Amsterdam, starts in 1617.
Until 1623 the ground-floor was used as a meat-market, with rooms above for ‘De Schutterij’, the city militia that had to watch over the safety of Amsterdam.
The House owes its name to the period between 1623 and 1647, when the ‘Heren Negentien’ wielded the sceptre over the Dutch West-India Trading Company (West-Indische Compagnie) from here. In one
one of the rooms, the Compagnieszaal, the decision was made to build the fort ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’ on the island of Manhattan. Peter Stuyvesant, whose statue now ornaments the courtyard of West Indies House, was appointed to governor-general of the fortress New Amsterdam, which through the ages developed to become the metropolis of New York. Piracy on Spanish ships, carried out by order of the West-Indies Company, hauled in vast booty during this period. The biggest blow suffered by Spain was the conquest by Admiral Piet Heijn of a fleet fully laden with silver. These treasures were stored in the basement of West Indies House, known today asnowadays the ‘Piet Heijn kelder’.
In 1648 the war with the Spanish had ended and with it the piracy on Spanish ships. The ‘West-Indies Company‘ found itself in a bad financial situation and was forced to move to its own warehouse at the Prins Hendrikkade. Since then, West-Indies House has known many tenants. The House was used, among other things, as the official hotel for the city's most distinguished guests.
Later on, the building served as an orphanage and retirement home.
Eventually it became the headquarters of a textile firm housing office and storage facilities, until the building was devastated by a great fire in 1975.
In 1976 the building was bought by the foundation ‘Stichting Het West-Indisch Huis’ which restored the building into its original character. The restoration was finished in 1981.