The Czar Peter House in Zaandam

The Czar Peter House in Zaandam

Towards the end of the 17th century Czar Peter the Great, whose great desire was the realization of his ideals to make his enormous empire great, had conceived the plan to become personally, acquainted with the civilization, commerce and industry of Western Europe.

The fame of the Dutch shipbuilding, of which Zaandam was considered the most important center, had penetrated as far as Russia. Many Dutchman, including people from Zaandam, had even worked in Moscow.

In 1697 the Czar arrived incognito in the name of Peter Michaeloff at Zaandam early in the morning of the 18th of August. No sooner had the Czar set foot ashore than he discovered in the front of the crowd a certain Gerrit Kist, who had formerly been in his service. The Czar insisted upon staying at Kist’s humble dwelling during his stay in Zaandam.

Even the same day he was employed by lynsz. Teewisz. Rogge at the latter’s shipbuilding yard, where he plied the tools, but his chief interest was the designs.

On the 12th of May 1698 the Czar visited Zaandam again, on which occasion he spent a few hours with Gerrit Kist.

On March 5, 1717 Peter paid his third visit to Zaandam, but now as the Emperor of all Russians. He was accompanied by his wife Czarina Catharina and his attendants were much more numerous and of a more official nature. On that occasion, the Czar was the guest of the merchant Michielsz. Calff. He conversed with the common people, since according to historical records he had succeeded quite well in mastering the Dutch language.

On March 9 he once more returned to call on his friend Kist. In 1818 the house was bought by King William 1 of Holland, to present it to the Grand-duchess Anna Paulowna of Russia, who in 1816 married the Crown prince of the Netherlands, afterwards, King William 2. In order to preserve the historic little house from total ruin she ordered a brick building to be built round the house, with open arches, which were closed by shutters in winter. It has nevertheless suffered much from the flood, which harassed Zaandam in 1825.

In 1865 Prince Henry of the Netherlands had a cap built over the house, in order to shelter it on all sides.

In 1879, King William 3 presented the house to H.M. Alexander 3, the Emperor of all Russians. In 1890 by his order, wooden shores and iron hangers were placed to prop up the house on all sides; at the same time the whole house was lifted and placed upon stone foundation. From then on, it has been protected from the influence of moisture.

At the command of the Emperor Nicholas 2 the house was surrounded in 1895 by an entirely stone building, as well by a stone wall round the site, thus protecting the house against danger from fire.

Every year the little house is visited by thousands of people from all parts of the world, who are fact that such a great man contented himself with such a humble dwelling, lived in such a simple kitchen and should have slept with drawn-up knees (he had length of ± meters) in such a small built-in bedstead.

Therefore, Napoleon was right when, visiting the house, he exclaimed
“For the great men nothing is too small!”.

Also have a look at the Czar Peter statue at Dam square.

Opening Hours:
From Thursday till Sunday from 13.00-17.00
Celebration-days closed

Czar Peter House
Krimp 23/24
1506 AA Zaandam
Tel: 075-6160390
Fax: 075-6314173

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