The Tuschinski Theatre, opened in 1921, was the crowning achievement of Abram Tuschinski. He had already built 4 wonderful cinemas in Rotterdam and then bought 2 hectares of land in central Amsterdam to create the greatest cinema in the world! I think he achieved it. He was involved in every aspect of the acquisition, design, construction and management of the cinema and wished to bring the ultimate in luxury and comfort to his patrons. He was a workaholic and lived above the shop and had a window looking into the foyer from above so when important people or press visited he could race downstairs and entertain them. The theatre is a mind boggling mixture of styles: art nouveau, early art deco and Amsterdam school. Every single detail of the building has been thoughtfully designed from the grand circle not having pillars obscuring the view, to the tiniest hinge or light switch. It is a truly amazing place.
Abram was a master problem solver. He had ordered 1200 pine tree trunks as pile foundations from Germany but the Brisish occupying forces after WWI would not release them. So he went to Germany, found them, tied them to rafts, draped the Dutch flag over them and floated them down the Rhine to Amsterdam.
The theatre has an astonishing Wurlitzer organ, 850 pipes and able to make just about any sound, including voice. Abram’s problem was that the organ would not arrive in time for his grand opening. His persuasive powers were such that he was able to convince the proprietor of a similar theatre in Brussels to dismantle his grand organ and lend it to Tuschinski for the opening!
The self guided tour costs 10 euros which gets you a cup of coffee and a headset and box gadget with about 10 different menu choices based on locations in the building. You pay at the main bar in the reception area. Go at 09h30 so that you can have access to the grand auditorium as later in the day it is generally in use as their main cinema. The tour takes in the VIP room and when I went all the lights were off but on the walll next to the door is a light switch pad with buttons to push to turn on the 5 different light systems, lamps, behing bar lights etc. Also, do find the Oriental room I think its called, behind a curtain on the ground floor corridor, it is a delighful little hideaway. The whole thing took about 45 minutes.