Theater Tuschinski

Reguliersbreestraat 26-34,
Amsterdam 1017 CN

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Tuschinksi Theater, main auditorium (Zaal 1), Proscenium Arch

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Theater Tuschinski in Amsterdam is the Netherlands' most beautiful cinema and one of the greatest ever erected.

This Art Deco style movie palace was the crowning achievement of Abraham Tuschinski. A self-taught Jewish tailor from Poland, Tuschinski was on his way to America in the early-1900’s, when he was waylaid in Rotterdam and ended up building a movie theatre enterprise in Holland instead.

Built in 1921, the Theater Tuschinksi was erected based on the designs of architect H.L. DeJong, with interior decor by Pieter den Besten and Jaap Gidding. The exterior is a cross between Art Deco and Gothic style architecture. The Teater Tuschinski was opened on 28th October 1921, with an original seating capacity for 2,000, on orchestra, balcony, and upper circle levels.

It has two very striking towers flanking the front entrance which in turn has two rather Gothic style lamps. The main foyer is executed in the Art Deco style in rich reds and golds – with its paintings of paradise birds and peacocks, its plush and colourful carpet hand-woven in Morocco, and its bar of bronze and marble.

The elaborate main auditorium is no less breathtaking earning the theatre the nicknames of ‘plum cake’ or ‘dowager bonbon box’. The building also boasted not only a great movie hall, but a cabaret-dinner club named "La Gaité", a Japanese tea room, a Moorish suite, and elegant foyers. A smaller auditoria has since been created from these rooms. The Theater Tuschinski was equipped with a small Wurlitzer organ, which was originally installed in the Cinema de la Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium, which was opened by organist Pierre Palla. This was replaced in 1923 by a 2 Manual 6 Ranks Wurlitzer model 160. In 1940 it was rebuilt by the Strunk organ company and a new 4 Manual console was added, and the Ranks increased to 10. This instrument was opened by Cor Steijn.

After the German occupation of Holland in 1940, it was re-named Tivoli Theatre, and began screening German made Nazi anti-antisemitic films. Abraham Tuschinski, and most of his family and other directors of the theater wer deported to Auschwitz in July 1942, never to return.

On 29th July 1945 the name Tuschinski was back on the facade. It was the most popular cinema in Amsterdam, and the stage was brought into use for concerts starring Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Domino and Dionne Warwick. In 1969, the resident 16-piece orchestra was disbanded, and in 1974, the Wurlitzer/Stunk organ ceased to be a part of the regular programming. It was used in 1996 for the theater’s 75th Anniversary, accompanying screenings of silent films.

In 1986, the former Noggerath Bioscope Theatre almost next door, which opened in 1906, and had for many years been operating as an adult cinema, was renovated and converted into screen 3 of the Tuschinski.

In 2001-2002, Amsterdam’s monumental theater underwent a painstaking restoration project.

The historic auditorium ‘Grote Zaal’ currently seats 784. There is a classic film series which has a monthly slot in the programming. An additional five screens, ranging from 105 to 191 seats, are located in an adjacent building.

Contributed by Steve Lynch, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

droben
droben on February 5, 2007 at 4:20 am

Since Pathe spent the money to restore this beautiful theater to its original splendor instead of doing it the American way (closing it), then forgive me if I cut them some slack for throwing up a gaudy sign advertising their cinema company name. We Americans should be so lucky!

Ian
Ian on August 9, 2007 at 12:35 pm

A couple more interior shots of the main Tuschinski cinema:–

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HowardBHaasEsq
HowardBHaasEsq on October 15, 2007 at 12:54 am

Gorgeous interior photos (click to enlarge them) of the historic theater and history:
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px1
px1 on February 29, 2008 at 4:01 pm

There is a beautiful illustrated book about the restoration of the Tuschinski- “Theater Tuschinski, Restoration of a Dream” – RUTGERS,BRAM & KEES DOORNENBAL.

Captions and text are in Dutch and English.

One bookseller:
http://www.antiqbook.nl/boox/akok/171721.shtml

Also, If you are in Amsterdam, there are guided tours of the Tuschinski in the summer, They are at 10:00am or 10:30am, one or two days a week. Link below has details.
http://home.scarlet.be/~tsa36492/archi1900/NL.htm

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 30, 2008 at 2:04 pm

Enjoyed “Iron Man” in the huge historic auditorium, and also the classic Dutch film “Fanfare”
My May 2008 photos:
Exterior of historic Tuschinski & former Noggerath cinema (now another entry):
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Ex-Noggerath cinema, now another entry/exit for Tuschinski:
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STAINED GLASS:
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A “BUTTERFLY GIRL” mural, looking Art Nouveau:
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Mural in JAPANESE room:
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Another colorful mural:
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My flickr set including October 2005 photos:
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BigNorse
BigNorse on July 13, 2009 at 12:10 am

I asked the usher very politely if I could have a look inside the auditorium without buying a ticket, and he gave me one minute. It’s a funny mix of art deco/Jugend style, a bit of Nouveau, some South American influences and what have you—I think the foyer and the light fixtures impressed me the most. Didn’t have much time in Amsterdam, but will take in a movie next time (hope there is a next time!) to catch all the details.

DylanAsh
DylanAsh on December 7, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I was in Amsterdam in 2007 and saw Little Miss Sunshine here. I’d seen it already at home in New York, but wanted to see it again. Seeing here was like seeing for the first time again. I’ll go again the next time I’m in this awesome city.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 3, 2010 at 1:56 am

Europe has some truly beautiful movie Theatres,hopefully folks there don’t come to the movies in torn shorts and tank tops.

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on May 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm

I am now visiting Amsterdam and just passed by the Tuschinski. The facade is now being thoroughly – and hopefully lovingly – restored. The downside is that, except for the two towers, the facade is invisible to the eye. It should, however, be something to see when the work is done.

Fortunately, the lobby is open to the public and is an absolute delight to behold. The shifting colors on the ceiling create a terrific and absolutely exotic effect.

This is, in short, an incredible cinema treasure – and its best days may still be to come!

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