Science and culture for members only : the Amsterdam Zoo by Donna C. Mehos

By Donna C. Mehos

The Amsterdam zoo Artis was once well-known because the preeminent cultural middle of town for far of the 19th century. Donna Mehos right here examines the specific nature of Artis and the way the Amsterdam center type applied it to domesticate a tradition of technology that may replicate good at the kingdom and its capital. This quantity deals a desirable examine of the function of technological know-how within the improvement of Dutch nationwide and sophistication identities in the course of a interval of nationwide and colonial enlargement.

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Each city was run by a mayor and aldermen (Burgemeester and Wethouders, or B&W) and a city council (Gemeenteraad). Mayors were appointed by the king, and the aldermen 35 science and culture 12-01-2006 11:52 Pagina 36 chosen from among the city council members. 2 As a result of the constitutional revolution of 1848, the new Municipal Law (Gemeentewet) of 1851 took effect, (semi-)democratizing city governments and allowing for change. 3 Gradually, the conservative Amsterdam government changed, reflecting broader political and economic changes in the Netherlands.

Several economic factors led the city council to abandon its tradition of strict property control. The increasing demand for – and value of – real estate in Amsterdam’s center meant that the sale of publicly-owned property enriched the city’s treasury. 10 The costs of expansion – previously the responsibility of the municipality – were now absorbed by the private sector. For example, owners of land purchased from the city were responsible for planning and constructing the roads, drainage, and bridges in the area – tasks previously the responsibility of the Amsterdam Office of Public Works.

Furthermore, despite the city’s claims to support the zoo and its scientific goals, the board felt that the city neither recognized nor encouraged its accomplishments; the city did not appreciate what the zoological society had done for Amsterdam’s scientific, educational, and cultural life. During this period, the city never contributed any financial support. More importantly, the city’s (rather empty) coffers were enriched, for example, by the significant excise taxes levied on commodities consumed in vast quantities by the zoo animals.

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