Sophie van Ginneken is a PhD candidate in Architectural History at the Department of Art History at the University of Amsterdam. In 2016 she started her research project entitled City of Sights; the architectural image and performance of Amsterdam as a tourist city (1840-present).
Thus far, tourism and tourist places have primarily been studied by geographers, anthropologists and sociologists. These accounts have provided important concepts, such as the ‘tourist gaze’ and the ‘enshrinement’ of buildings and urban spaces. While these studies attach considerable importance to image as well as spatial characteristics, the analyses of the image and the space itself – the architectural composition and spatial transformation of sites – remain a blank spot. This dissertation questions how architecture, as the visual and physical expression of Amsterdam’s identity, has played a pivotal role in the way the city has been perceived and consumed by tourists, and (re)planned for tourist ends.