Overview: Take a leisurely walk through Amsterdam's most beautiful and storied residential neighborhood—the Jordaan (pronounced Your-Dahn). This... more »
Take a leisurely walk through Amsterdam's most beautiful and storied residential neighborhood—the Jordaan (pronounced Your-Dahn). This... more » 2.5-mile walk will guide you through hidden courtyards, cozy cafes, beautiful canals and 17th/18th century architecture. As of 2009 the Jordaan (along with the rest of Amsterdam's Canal District) was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Over the past couple decades the Jordaan has become more and more gentrified, but evidence of its proud, working-class past are still visible. less «
There are four hidden courtyards, or hofjes (pronounced hof-yes), on this tour. The courtyards were originally built by churches,... more » private organizations or the city for widows or orphans as quiet urban oases within the busy and crowded city. There are approximately 40 such courtyards throughout Amsterdam.
These courtyards are public, but are surrounded by private residences. Please be respectful and quiet during your visit. less «
Our Jordaan (pronounced Your-Dahn) neighborhood tour starts at the iconic Westerkerk (West Church), which opened in 1631. Its most famous permanent resident is the Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijn who was buried in a pauper's grave here in 1669.
At 279 feet, the Westerkerk tower looks over Jordaan like a protective grandparent. While it... More is a natural place to start this tour, the Westerkerk is not technically part of the Jordaan.
The Jordaan is bordered to the east by the Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal), which ambles by Westerkerk, so the Jordaan is officially across the canal from Westerkerk. Westerkerk was originally built for the wealthy merchant-class inhabitants of the western canal ring. Some say Prinsengracht was created to keep the working-class Jordaan residents separate from their wealthy neighbors. The Noorderkerk (North Church), which you'll see later, was built for the Jordaaneese.
Westerkerk is open to the public Monday-Friday 11am-3pm (April-October). It is free to view the interior of the church and costs €5 to climb the tower, which you have to be at least 6 years old to climb. Church services (in Dutch) are 10:30am Sundays.
Walk north along Prinsengracht and pass Anne Frank House at No. 265. Continue north, noticing the varied gables of the canal houses until you reach the door to house Nos. 85-133, which is the entrance to POI #2, Hofje van Brienen.
Address: Prinsengracht 281 1016 GW Amsterdam 1016 GW Amsterdam
Hours: Monday through Friday 11:00am – 3:00pm (April – October)Less
The buildings surrounding the courtyard housed a brewery until the late 18th century; the courtyard's namesake converted them into alms houses in 1804. Today the houses are occupied by elderly Catholic women.
Hofje van Brienen is open Monday-Friday 6am-6pm and Saturday 6am-2pm.
As you leave Hofje van Brienen follow the GPS path north along... More Prinsengracht and over the bridge. As you cross the bridge notice the row of houses in front of you and their leaning, varied gables. On the corner is the oldest continually operating pub in Amsterdam: Papeneiland (est. 1642). Look south along the Prinsengracht for a picturesque view of the Westerkerk tower. Continue south along Prinsengracht for another block until you reach Noorderkerk.
Address: Prinsengracht 89-133, Amsterdam
Phone: 020 251 4900
Noorderkerk opened in 1623 for the residents of the Jordaan. Its plain exterior matches the traditionally working-class parishioners. Outside the main entrance notice the sculpture of three figures bound together with the inscription "Eenheid de sterkste keten," which loosely translates to "The strongest chains are those of unity.... More" The statue commemorates the bloody Jordaan riots of 1934 against government austerity measures to cut unemployment benefits during the Great Depression. The protesters were successful and the government did not cut the benefits.
On the east exterior wall of the church you will find a plaque commemorating the February 1941 labor strikes, which protested the deportation of Jews by the occupying Nazis. The organizers of the strikes held their first meeting on this spot.
Every Saturday the church square (Noordermarkt) hosts the largest organic market in Amsterdam, and on Mondays a wonderful flea market appears.
Address: Noordermarkt 48, 1015 NA Amsterdam
Mid-September to mid-June:
Free classical music concerts Saturday 2pm
This is a great place to break to enjoy a Dutch treat. Appeltaart (apple pie) is a Dutch specialty and as any Jordaan resident will attest, Cafe Winkel serves up the best appeltaart in Amsterdam. Get it "met slaagroom" (with whipped cream) for the ultimate experience. The apples used in Cafe Winkel's appeltaart are picked from an orchard... More in north Holland.
Address: Noordermarkt 43, 1015 NA Amsterdam
Hours: Monday 7-1, Tueday, Wednesday, Thursday 8-1, Friday 8-3, Saturday 7-3, Sunday 10-1
Prices and menu available online: http://www.winkel43.nl/Less
Follow the GPS map through cute residential streets Boomstraat and Karthuizersstraat. After turning the corner onto Karthuizersstraat notice the black building on the left with five "neck" gables. The first has the date of construction (1737), followed by the four seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter. This is an excellent example of... More 18th century residential architecture.
Continue down the street to Karthuizerhof, one of the largest courtyards in Amsterdam. It was built by city architect Daniel Stalpaert in 1650. In the gable above the door are the names of those that made it possible for the city to build this house and courtyard. The inner courtyard contains two water pumps with sea monsters for spouts.
Address: Karthuizerhof 61-191
Hours: Daily 8am-10pm
As you leave the courtyard notice the drying racks under the second level windows on the exterior of the building. These houses were originally built by the church for widows whose job it was to wash (and dry) the neighborhood residents' clothes.
After Karthuizerhof turn left onto Tichelstraat to see the beautiful Westerkerk tower rising in front of you. After crossing Westerstraat this becomes a street with cute boutique shops. There is a great ice cream shop at No. 17 if you're ready for a sweet treat.Less
Although you may have just had some appeltaart at Cafe Winkel, it's hard to pass by the cute canal-side Cafe 't Smalle. If the weather is cooperating you can enjoy a coffee or beer on the terrace, which sits right on the picturesque Egelantiersgracht.
Cafe 't Smalle is where Pieter Hoppe began his gin distillery in 1786. Hoppe is a famous brand... More of Dutch gin, which is known as jenever. The high-ceilinged bar has tiled floors, leaded glass windows and a candelabra. Behind the serving counter is a pyramid of jenever barrels. Upstairs is a cozy mezzanine with wood-paneled walls. It serves tasty food and offers a nice beer selection.
After whetting your whistle at 't Smalle, follow the Egelantiersgracht looking for house No. 50, which contains a gable stone detailing an egelantier (sweet briar) rose with the caption "In liefde bloeinde" (in love blooms).
Address: Egelantiersgracht 12, 1015 RL
Phone: 020 6239617
Hours: Open Mon-Thu and Sun 10am-1am; Fri-Sat 10am-2am
Price and menu found online at http://www.t-smalle.nl/Less
After leaving Sint-Andrieshof continue south on Tweede Leliedwarsstraat until you come to Bloemgracht. Turn right and follow what is arguably the most beautiful canal in Jordaan. Enjoy its many rich facades and well-maintained canal houses.
The house at Nos. 87-91 (on the south side of the canal) date back to 1642 and are an excellent example of... More 17th century Amsterdam architecture. The house is known as "De Drie Hendricken" because of the three gable stones that contain three men: the Steeman (city man), Landman (landman or farmer) and the Seeman (seaman). The building is still original down to its crossed window frames and shutters.Less
This square is named after 20th century Dutch folk singer Johannes Hendricus van Musscher, whose stage name was Johnny Jordaan. He is known for singing folk songs about Amsterdam in general and Jordaan in particular. His statue in this square is joined by statues of fellow musicians Tante Leen, Manke Nelis and Johnny Meyer. The music that this... More group made in the 1950s-1970s still defines Jordaan's folk music culture.
Address: 1015 NA AmsterdamLess
Directly across the street from Johnny Jordaanplein is a canal houseboat that has been converted into a museum. While the museum is small, it does offer insight into the life of those Jordaan residents who call a houseboat home.
Interesting fact: The city of Amsterdam still does not regulate sewage from houseboats. Seventy percent of Amsterdam's ... More2,200 houseboats are not connected to the sewer system. Some local knowledge in case you felt like taking a dip in the canal after the tour.
Kids up to 5 feet €2.75
Address: Prinsengracht 296 K, 1016 HW AMSTERDAM