Artist Hans van Houwelingen designed the entrance of this bicycle shed as an environmental artwork, in which the lizards from his work Blauw Jan 1994 are included. In collaboration with ZJA architects and the municipal landscape architect Ruwan Aluvihare, an imaginative place was created in the heart of Amsterdam.
Blaauw Jan was the nickname of the 17th century pub owner Jan Westerhof, who kept exotic animals at his cafe. The combination of alcohol and imagination turned out to be good for business. Hans van Houwelingen shows the parallel with Leidseplein, where throngs of tourists engage in mind-expanding conversations with forty exotic lizards. 1751: "The inn, traditionally called BLAAUW JAN, located on the Cloveniers Burgwal in Amsterdam, is so famous that no Stranger leaves the City without having a look at the Curiosities there."
Blaauw Jan is seen as the forerunner of Artis.