It is the year 1622. The Eighty Years’ War against Spain has just been resumed. After the Twelve Years’ Truce, Spanish general Spinola conceived of a plan to inflict a decisive blow to the rebel provinces by shutting down trade in Amsterdam. And what is more obvious than blowing up the center of trade: the Beurs van Hendrick de Keyser?
The exchange building had been built on arches over the Rokin water. Without anyone noticing, the Spaniards managed to moor a ship filled with gunpowder under the building. According to the exchange legend, an Amsterdam orphan boy who was playing there discovered the boat and immediately raised alarm. That way, he saved the capital from a disaster. The city council let the boy make a wish. He did not need much time to think about it: he wanted to drum inside the exchange building, because there the echoes sound so wonderful!
Drumming at the exchange becomes a tradition. First, in the Beurs van Hendrick de Keyser, and later, in the Beurs van Zocher. Every year, in the week of the September funfair, the trading floor is packed with young, enthusiastic drummers. A few brief interruptions aside, drumming on the municipal Merchants Exchange is an annually recurring custom until the commissioning of the Beurs van Berlage in 1903. After a fifty-year silence, as of the fifties, children are allowed to make noise in the latter building as well. By the end of the 20th century drumming at the Beurs van Berlage gradually becomes obsolete. In 2008, however, the tradition is reinstated – at Beursplein 5 this time.