Untitled (1950) Nel Klaassen
The business community started immediately after the liberation with the involvement of visual artists, interior designers and advertisers in the reconstruction of the city. Initially, only the banks had sufficient financial resources to develop construction activities. Monumental new bank buildings opened their doors between 1949 and 1959, including those on Blaak. The Twentsche Bank, the Incasso Bank (which merged with the Amsterdamsche Bank during construction) and the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij opened their so-called 'branch banks' here, because the companies had their head offices and management boards in Amsterdam. This building of the former Amsterdamsche Bank - Incasso Bank at Blaak 40 was designed by the reconstruction architects Kraaijvanger. It is now a national monument. Today the Chamber of Commerce is housed in the building. The facade was 'decorated' by Nel Klaassen, who worked on several bank buildings on the Blaak. On both sides of the entrance is a vertical molding with zodiac signs, which makes the animals almost seem to be climbing. At the top are three reliefs of birds, a typical reconstruction symbol.
Nel Klaassen (Arnhem, 1906 - Heemstede, 1989) was a monumental sculptor, painter, draftsman and maker of mosaics. She was a student of Jan Bronner at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In 1932 she received the Prix de Rome for monumental and ornamental sculpture. She produced an inauguration medal for Queen Juliana. Together with other artists she was also responsible for interior decorations of various passenger ships in Rotterdam.