The Goudkantoor (Gold Office) is a building built in 1635.
It was built for 9000 guilders.
Nowadays you can hardly built a toilet in your house for this amount.
This building is located on Waagstraat near the Grote Markt in Groningen.
You will immediately notice it, because it is lovely with all the gold details and it doesn't look like any other building in the neighborhood. It stands out!
About the building
The building was built in a Groningen variant of the Dutch Renaissance style (Northern Mannerism). Characteristic elements are the shell-shaped motifs above the doors and windows, which are attributed to a sculptor from Bremen. For those who have been to Bremen, they will recongnize the style.
The motifs on the outer walls are characteristic of the Hanseatic region. In 1844, the pompous Tuscan loggia in front of the entrance was demolished for unknown reasons. The sculpture on top was incorporated into the entrance gate. During this renovation, the shutters were also removed from the lower floor of the building and the stained glass windows were removed. The windows were stripped of the original stone frames, which were replaced by neo-Gothic wooden bars.
The purpose of the building through out the years
Originally it was built as an office for the receiver of taxes in the province of Groningen when it was called Collectehuis.
The text on the building, 'Date Caesari quae sunt Caesaris' (Latin) (English: Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's) refers to the original function. Give the ruler what he has the right to (tax money).
The name Goudkantoor goes back to 1814-1887, when the Waarborgbureau voor Goud- en Zilverwerken was located in the building. Gold and silver could get a hallmark so people could prove it was real.
Prior to World War II the Northern Ship Transport was located in the building. Just before the liberation of the city, in April 1945, the entire collection was transferred to a building on the north side of the Grote Markt, because the owners were afraid that the Goudkantoor would get damaged during the liberation, but in fact it was one of the few buildings that wasn't heavily damaged, because fire-fighters saved it from burning down.
After the war, the museum was located in the building again for a short time and later it was used as an information centre (Het Stadjershuis) and as a tourist information centre.
The Restaurant Goudkantoor
The Goudkantoor was restored during the construction of the Nieuwe Waagstraat and is currently a cafe- restaurant and an event location. The event location is on the first floor, with a lovely view on the Grote Markt and de Martinitoren.
On the ground floor you have the terrace and in the morning you can get a good cup of coffee here, in afternoon a lunch and in the evening an dinner.