Amsterdam Tourist Guide Guide du tourisme à Amsterdam Toeristische gids van Amsterdam

Amsterdam


 


Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s old centre is hemmed in by the Ij River to the north and spreads south in a web of medieval streets and canals. Most of the city’s main monuments are located along the canals, so a boat cruise or walking are pleasant ways of discovering Amsterdam’s’ rich architectural heritage: with 7000 officially recognised historical buildings and monuments, including its famous narrow gabled-houses, it is one of Europe’s most atmospheric cities.

You cannot go to Amsterdam without visiting a wooden house. The great fires of 1421 and 1452 destroyed most of them, but two beautiful examples remain:

Het Houten Huys (the Wooden House)
Address: Begijnhof 34
The Wooden House is a popular stop on the tourist trail. Built around 1424 it features a gothic timber frame and enchanting decoration.

Het Huis met de Hoofden
Address: Keizersgracht 123
The House of the six Effigies was built in 1622 and retains its original front door and gate, as well as many original features inside.

Around Dam square:

Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace)
Koninklijk Paleis was originally built as a town hall in the mid-17th century in an imposing Dutch classicist style. It became a royal residence during the French occupation when Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother became king of the Netherlands in 1808. The building is now used for state functions and features one of the finest ceremonial halls in Europe, the Burgerzal (Burghers' Hall).
Opening hours: Easter and June to October, every day from 11 am to 5 pm.
May and winter months: Tuesday to Thursday from 12.30 pm to 5 pm.
It may be closed for official functions and state visits.

War Memorial
The National Monument, a white stone pillar, was erected on Dam Square in 1956 to remember the victims of World War II.

Amsterdam’s Narrowest House
Address: Singel 7

Reputedly the narrowest house in the world, the house is only 101 centimetres wide, although behind the facade it broadens out to more normal dimensions.

Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Address: Dam Square, Amsterdam

Located next to the Royal Palace, the Gothic-style church was built in 1408 and is one of the city's oldest buildings. It is still used for state occasions, such as the coronations of Dutch sovereigns and royal weddings, and hosts exhibitions and concerts.
Opening times: daily from 10 am to 6 pm; Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm.
Closed 25 December & 1 January.

Beurs van Berlage (Old Stock Exchange)
Address: Damrak 213, Amsterdam

The sober brick building, completed in 1903, is a prime example of modern Dutch architecture. Highly innovative at the time, its design greatly influenced architects from the Amsterdam School movement. It served as the Stock Exchange until 1984 and is now an exhibition centre and concert hall, home to the Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra. Although extensively renovated, much of the original decoration inside has been left untouched.

Schreierstoren (Weepers' Tower)
Address: Prins Hendrikkade 94-95, Amsterdam

The semicircular fortress tower formed part of the old city walls. It stands on the spot where sailors' wives came to say goodbye to their husbands as they embarked on long voyages. A bronze plaque commemorates the English navigator, Henry Hudson, who sailed from here in 1609.

De Wallen (red-light district)

Oude Kerk (Old Church)
Address: Oudekerkplein, Amsterdam

Consecrated in 1306, Oude Kerk is Amsterdam’s oldest parish church. Its roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe and concerts are often held here. Inside the church you can see the gravestones of many prominent citizens, including Rembrandt's wife, Saskia.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm; Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Museum Amstelkring
Address: Oodezijds Voorburgwal 40

The main interest of this bourgeois house lies in the extraordinary history of its attic, which conceals a secret Catholic church dating from the Reformation, when public catholic worship was banned.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday: from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Sint Nicolaaskerk (1884-1887)
Address: Prins Hendrikkade

Built in the late 19th century, St Nicholas is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved Roman Catholic churches in Amsterdam. It is worth visiting for its marvellous interior and unique combination of baroque and neo-renaissance details. The imposing structure features two identical towers on either side of the ornate stain glass rose window, crowned by a statue of St Nicholas, Amsterdam’s patron saint. The Sauer organ is a major attraction, particularly during the International Organ concert festival. At 5 pm every Saturday (September to June) the choir performs the Choral evensong. Admission is free.

The area also has some of the city’s most attractive old houses, along Warmoessstraat.

Nieuwmarkt

Zuiderkerk (South Church)
Address: Zuiderkerkhof 72, Amsterdam

The attractive 17th-century church, designed by Hendrick de Keyser, was the first Protestant church in The Netherlands. Its tower ranks among the finest in Amsterdam, affording panoramic views over the city from the top. Monet painted the church in 1874 when he visited the city. No longer used as a church since the 1970s, Zuiderkerk now houses exhibitions and a Wall of Fame, a tribute to prominent citizens for their charity work.
Opening times: Monday to Friday from midday until 5 pm; Thursday from midday until 8 pm.

Jordaan:

Westerkerk (West Church)
Address: Prinsengracht 279 281, Amsterdam

This magnificent 17th-century Renaissance church is one of the city's most important landmarks. The spire crowned by a blue orb and crown and gilded weathercock is the highest church tower in Amsterdam, with a height of 85 meters. Rembrandt is reputedly buried there, although the exact site is unknown. The church gets several mentions in Anne Frank’s diary as the family could see its tower from their attic. Steps will take you to the top of the tower where you get breathtaking views of the city.

Noorderkerk (North Church)
Address: Noordermarkt 44-48, Amsterdam

The 17th-century Protestant church was completed in 1623 and designed in the shape of a broad Greek cross. The design was unusual at the time, but later became common for Protestant churches in the Netherlands.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Magere Bridge (Skinny Bridge)
Address: Amstel, between Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht

The white-painted drawbridge is probably the most famous and beautiful bridge in Amsterdam. Originally very narrow, hence the name, two people could barely cross it at the same time. It has spanned the River Amstel since 1672 and is illuminated in the evening.

Hollandsche Manège (Dutch Stables)
Address: Vondelstraat 140, 1054 GT Amsterdam

The Royal Riding School first opened in 1882 and was designed by the architect A.L. Van Gendt. Inspired from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the stylish 19th century interior retains much of its original design.
Admission is free

Plantage

Hollandsche Schouwburg (Dutch Theatre) and Memorial
Address: Plantage Middenlaan, 24

Originally built in 1892, the luxurious theatre (it boasted a chandelier with 140 gaslights) was the main entertainment centre in the Jewish neighbourhood until 1914. It was used by the Nazis as a deportation centre during World War II and a Wall of Remembrance, erected in 1962, bears the names of the 104 000 Jews who were deported from the Netherlands. A small memorial garden, situated behind the museum, provides a quiet haven.
Opening hours: every day from 11 am until 4 pm.

Wandering around the Jewish Quarter will give you an insight into Jewish life and history in Amsterdam.

Portuguese Synagogue
Address: Visserplein 3, Amsterdam

The beautiful synagogue, modelled after the Temple of Solomon, was completed in 1675 and was at the time the largest synagogue in the world. Miraculously, it survived the nazi occupation of the city and was left unscathed. It testifies to the rich Jewish culture and large Jewish population in Amsterdam in the 17th century. The interior is designed in the Sephardi style. Two large brass chandeliers hold 1000 candles, which are lit during services.The Ets Haim (Tree of Life) library is located nearby and is one of the oldest in the world.
The synagogue is open to visitors.

Jewish Historical Museum
Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum is housed in a complex of four Ashkenazi synagogues: Obbene Sjoel (Upstairs Synagogue, 1686), Grote Sjoel(Great Synagogue, 1671), DrittSjoel (Third Synagogue, 1700), Neie Sjoel (New Synagogue, 1752).
Extensively restored in 1987, the synagogues now house a remarkable collection of Jewish art and religious and historical artefacts documenting the history of the Jewish people in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
Opening hours: daily from 11 am until 5 pm. Closed Yom Kippur.
Admission:
6.50€ adults; 3€ young people (13-17); 2€ children (6-12).
Children under 6: free.

 


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