Monuments to see in Amsterdam
Any visitor who wants to see more than just the typical sights of Amsterdam will definitely enjoy a tour along a number of other famous monuments. In this article we highlight a couple of interesting places to see in Amsterdam.
Our first stop is the Begijnhof, which is well worth a visit. This courtyard lies just off Kalverstraat and is hidden away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The Begijnhof is a mediaeval courtyard that includes one of the last three remaining Medieval wooden houses in Amsterdam. The courtyard used to be a Catholic sanctuary, and the church in courtyard was reformed during the Alteration. After the reformation, Catholics were forbidden from openly practising their religion. To overcome this problem, this beautiful secret church was built in a house.
The route continues along Kalverstraat and takes us to the Papegaai Kerk (Parrot Church). Unfortunately, this lovely building is somewhat overshadowed by all the neon lights of the surrounding shops.
A small walk down the Kalverstraat brings us to the Dam square. The Dam is one of the central squares of Amsterdam and in the thirteenth century a dam on the river the Amstel stood here. It is this dam the name AmsterDAM originated from.The Pillar in the middle of the Dam is a memorial erected for the fallen of world war II. It is here where the Dutch remember the dead the fourth of may. The Palace on the Dam is one of Amsterdam’s most impressive monuments. Originally this was the City Hall but in 1808 Lodewijk Napoleon used the building as a palace. The building in recently renovated and the impressive interior is well worth a visit.
The route continues across Dam Square to the next stop, Wijnand Fockink. This jenever distillery dates back to 1679. The jenever or Dutch gin is still distilled according to traditional methods. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery and enjoy a drink in the age-old tasting room.
Old storehouses on the Wallen
From Wijnand Fockink the route continues to ‘de Wallen’, Amsterdam’s red-light district. This area is located in the oldest part of the city and is mainly famous for its women of easy virtue. The route takes us past old storehouses. Traders visiting the port of Amsterdam would store their goods in these storehouses. The goods were transported via the canals. Many of the houses have been subsided because of rotten foundations. However, the fact they lean forward is not without reason. This makes it easier to hoist objects. The ground floor lies above street level and can be accessed via stairs. This meant that, in the event of a flood, the ground floor remained dry. Workers in the basement, however were less lucky.
De Oude Kerk
De Oude Kerk (Old Church) is the next stop along our tour. This structure, which dates back to the 13th century, is the oldest building in Amsterdam. Back then, the church had a very different appearance. Between the years 1300 and 1500, Amsterdam experienced tremendous growth. A lot of buildings were built during this period. This is evidenced by the use of different construction materials. According to estimates, around 10,000 people were buried here.
The ‘Onze Lieve Heer Op Zolder’ church is located in the building at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40. This secret church with organ was built in the loft of this storehouse. With the exception of the Rijksmuseum, the church, which is open to visitors, is the oldest museum in the city.
Café 't Aepjen
Next up is the Café 't Aepjen on Zeedijk 1. This Medieval wooden house used to be an inn, and the innkeeper kept monkeys. According to some people, the Dutch saying ‘in de aap gelogeerd zijn’ which means to be in trouble, originated here. This may have been due to the fact that, after staying here, many of the guests suffered from fleas.
The Schreierstoren on the Geldersekade was part of the wall around Amsterdam. The tower was build in 1487 on the corner of the wall and is the only tower that is preserved. Schreien is Old-Dutch for crying so in English we could call the tower “the Crying Tower”. It is said that this name comes from the woman who saw there sailor men off to the far Orient and started crying then.
Amsterdam Central Station
Station Amsterdam Centraal is the Central station of Amsterdam. The construction works took place from 1881 till 1889 and was designed by architect P.J.H Cuypers, who also designed the Rijksmuseum. In this station around 186.000 people hop in and off a train daily.
The station was build on a artificial island in the Egg (the body of water behind the station). There was much resistance to the construction because the station blocks the view of Amsterdam.
Erik Meijer / Expatica
Erik Meijer is the owner of Get Events, a company that specializes in guided city tours, bachelor parties and other interesting events in Amsterdam and all the major cities in Holland.
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