Polish-Jewish immigrant Abraham Tuschinski already owned four movie theaters in Rotterdam when in 1917 he announced his plans to build a theater palace in Amsterdam. This theater was to be the crown on his business empire.
Some interesting facts:
- Abram Icek Tuszyński left his native Poland in 1904 fleeing the regular and brutal pogroms. He got stuck on his way to America in Rotterdam, without enough money to pay his passage. He stayed and built a business empire from scratch.
- As he was building his theater in Amsterdam’s entertainment district near Rembrandtplein, Tuschinski said: “I only want to use the best. Only the noblest woods, finely cut glass, heavy bronze, beautiful copper, beautiful marble, beautiful painting and rich carpets are eligible.” He took aesthetic considerations seriously and insisted that no support pillars be used for the two balconies, so as not to obstruct the view.
- Tuschinski checked the comfort of each of the 1,620 seats in the main hall himself.
- Autodidact architect Hijman de Jong designed the theater in an eclectic mix of styles, from Art Deco and Jugendstil to Amsterdam School.
- After numerous setbacks in the construction and a parting of ways between Tuschinski and De Jong, Theater Tuschinski opened its doors on October 28th 1921.
- Between 1998 and 2002, the exterior of Theater Tuschinski, the foyer, the main auditorium and the corridors were radically restored. With the discovery and restoration of hundreds of special decorations and paintings, the old grandeur returned.
- British Time Out Magazine ranked Tuschinski number one on its list of most beautiful cinemas in the world.
- Exactly 100 years after its opening Tuschinski was given the designation ‘Royal’, in a tribute to the exceptional vision and legendary entrepreneurship of its founder.
Abraham Tuschinski was murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz in September of 1942. A plaque commemorating the founder and his business partners killed in the war was unveiled in the main foyer in 1985.
For more on Royal Theater Tuschinski and its founder's remarkable life, read Issue 64 of Dutch the magazine.
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