Begijnhof - The Wooden House, Amsterdam

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Courtyard and Dwellings
    Courtyard and Dwellings
    by mickeyboy07
  • Inside the Chapel
    Inside the Chapel
    by mickeyboy07
  • Begijnhof
    Begijnhof
    by Twan
  • mazzap's Profile Photo

    A quiet Interlude in a Busy Sightseeing Day

    by mazzap Updated Mar 12, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A rare sight - grass in Amsterdam!

    The One of the nicest parts of the city! A tranquil corner in the heart of the city, though well hidden from the bustle of the outside world and actually quite hard to find! Don't give up - it's worth the hunt!

    The Begijnhof is a lovely courtyard of houses surrounding a raised walled grassed area. Among the buildings is the oldest house in Amsterdam - (see my next tip.) The Begijns were a 14th century order of lay sisters who founded their community here in 1346. They devoted their lives to helping the ill and the poor. The last true Begijn died in the 1970's. In the centre of the courtyard is a quaint chapel - The Begijnkerk.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • The Begijnhof

    by Mariajoy Updated Jul 15, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    We found this place on our third visit - a calm little oasis of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets and markets - look for the ornate doorway off of the Spui.

    The Begijnhof was founded in the 14th century for members of the Catholic sisterhood living as nuns but without taking vows and who had the right to return to the secular world.

    There's a lovely little book market just outside here too.

    Open 10am-5pm - free entrance. The Catholic Chapel is still used.

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Begijnhof - Many alterations?

    by breughel Updated Jun 9, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Begijnhof Amsterdam.
    1 more image

    The Begijnhof - Beguinage in Amsterdam is certainly a pleasant and quiet part of the old city but as a beguinage I felt surprised by the architectural heterogeneity of this ensemble!
    Maybe I am too much accustomed to Belgian begijnhoven-beguinages (there are a dozen only in Flanders) with their great architectural homogeneity.
    In Amsterdam I found a number of certainly charming old houses but all different from each other. Compare with the beguinages of Leuven, Brugge or Lier (photo 2) in Belgium and you will understand why I was surprised and somewhat disapointed.
    It seems that this change came first from the confiscation of all Catholic churches, monasteries and convents by the Orangist Calvinists authorities in 1578.
    In the 17th and 18th c. alterations were made to the houses in the Begijnhof; and wooden façades were changed. At the restoration of the Begijnhof (1984-1987), the courtyard was renovated and some houses enlarged.
    Al this explains probably why this "Begijnhof" in Amsterdam has lost its architectural homogeneity characteristic of beguinages in other countries.
    Anyway, the place was quiet and that is an essential characteristic of a begijnhof - beguinage.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • JetlagCity's Profile Photo

    Tranquil Spot in the Big City

    by JetlagCity Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Begijnhof house garden

    The Begijnhof is a lovely little enclosed green with nice gabled houses all around. It was originally built in the 1300's for a Catholic sisterhood of women who lived similarly to nuns. All of the houses have beautiful little gardens of flowers out front. I was quite amazed to learn that this spot is low-income housing for single women now.

    There's also a little English Church in here, where the Pilgrims may have worshipped on their way to America, as well as a secret chapel where Catholics used to worship before religious tolerance was reinstated.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Helga67's Profile Photo

    Beguinage

    by Helga67 Updated Oct 21, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beguinage

    The beguinage was a nice surprise. It's a big green courtyard enclosed by lovely houses in the middle of bustling Amsterdam. Entering the square through one of the gates gives you the feeling of tranquility and peace.

    You can enter the Beguinage between 9 am and 5 pm.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    Begijnhof - Peaceful Courtyard with History

    by nicolaitan Updated Feb 24, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entering the Begijnhof
    4 more images

    As early as 1150, Catholic women grouped together to treat the sick, follow a life of religion, chastity, and faith, but without vows of poverty and lifelong service and free to leave at any time. Over two hundred years, they became a sisterhood called the Beguines, living in enclosed courtyards offering peace and quiet removed from the bustle of the adjacent city. The Begijnhof is the largest and most famous of these, and the only one within the Singel canal. An oasis of green surrounded by classic tall townhouses, the entrances are hard to find - one located on the Spui is noted only by a small sign and entrance through a Gothic vaulted passageway ( image 5 ) and one down a narrow alley with only a small sign ( image 1 ). Over the centuries, these communities remained alive with new single women coming to live in this religious convent-like environment. The last of the Beguines (Sister Antonia ) died at the age of 84 in 1971.

    The most striking feature of the Begijnhof is the quiet peaceful grassy courtyard surrounded by the tall townhouses, with several historic features.

    Following destructive fires in the 16th C, wooden houses were banned. Only two remain, including the Houten Huys at 34 Begijnhof. Facing this house are statues depicting Jesus and likenesses of the sisters. On one of the walkways, stone slabs interrupt the walkway - beneath lie the remains of Cornelia Adams who died in 1654 and preferred to be buried in the gutter ( image 4 ) rather than in the church which she felt desecrated after it was converted to a Protestant Church after the Reformation.

    Hard to believe this quiet corner of Amsterdam is tucked away in the center of the city.

    Was this review helpful?

  • MATIM's Profile Photo

    Beguinage

    by MATIM Written Mar 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You can find this wooden house at the beguinage, it is the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam.
    In the old days Amsterdam had many wooden houses but after the big fire in 1521, it was forbidden to build wooden houses.
    this house survive the fire and is the oldest wooden house from Amsterdam it dates from 1420.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • MATIM's Profile Photo

    Beguinage

    by MATIM Written Mar 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The beguinage dates from 1346, it was a convent for sisters who didn?t do a chastity vow. In exchange for the shelter the sisters took care of sick people and gave lessons to the poor.
    The houses where renovated between 1982 and 1987
    The beguinage is one of the twenty habitat beguinage in Amsterdam.
    In the 47 houses of this beguinage are living students and elderly ladies. The last sister died in 1971.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • MATIM's Profile Photo

    beguinage

    by MATIM Written Mar 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At the south side of the inner court you can find this English church, build around 1419.
    In the old days the church was rent at English and Scottish Presbyterian.
    Despite many rebuilding the church kept it?s original tower.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Begijnhof

    by jo104 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Find this beautiful courtyard hidden behind closed doors, a former convent dating back to 14th century. At no 34 there is the oldest preserved wooden house in Holland dating back to 1465.
    The Beguines were a Catholic order of unmarried women from wealthy families who cared for the elderly. They lived a religious lifestyle without taking monastic vows.
    The last true Beguines died in 1970's. Because they owned their houses they could not be taken away after the Calvanist coup.

    Nowdays it is still homes for single women - but this is not a pick up site Boys check out RLD for that :-)

    Open 9am - 6.30pm and opens 1pm Mondays

    Was this review helpful?

  • mazzap's Profile Photo

    A Pretty and Historical House

    by mazzap Written Jun 4, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Quaint Wooden House

    Within the Begijnhof is Number 34 – the last surviving wooden house in Amsterdam. All wooden buildings were banned in 1521 as they posed a huge fire risk.

    Above the door of this one can be found a plaque bearing the words “Het Wouten Huys” meaning Wooden House.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Helga67's Profile Photo

    Beguinage

    by Helga67 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beguinage

    What's a beguinage?

    Beguinages were isolated parts of town were only women (beguines) lived in tiny houses. They also worked and prayed together within this community. They could join or leave as they wished, since there was no obligation of vows like in monasteries. The only vow was chastity.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Imaniac's Profile Photo

    Beguinage

    by Imaniac Written Jan 10, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Walking down the main shopping street, Kalverstraat, you might want to take a slight detour. At one of the crossings, near Spui, you can enter the beguinage. Compared to the busy street life of Amsterdam, this is such a peaceful place. It's a place of religion that dates back to the year 1150. The women that lived here were called Begijnen, hence the name Begijnhof. There are still people living here to this day, and it is still very much a religious place. You'll also find the only wooden house of Amsterdam here, and the entrance to teh Schuttersgalerij. You can visit the beguinage every day from 9 to 5.

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Begijnhof Kapel

    by jo104 Written Aug 31, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    In the courtyard is the Begijnhof Kapel, this is a clandestine church where the Beguines were forced to worship after they lost their Gothic church it has lovely marble columns, wooden pews and stained glass windows commemorating the Miricle of Amsterdam

    Admission free
    Eucharist service 9am Mon - Sat Sunday10am

    Was this review helpful?

  • ChrsStrl's Profile Photo

    The Beguinage

    by ChrsStrl Written Jul 11, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The old house

    From Spui one can enter the Beguinage through a narrow vaulted passage to a quiet garden surrounded by 17th & 18th C houses now occupied by old ladies or women students of slender means. In the centre is a mediaeval church popular for weddings and at number 34 is the city's oldest house, built of wood, in 1477.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Amsterdam

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

83 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Begijnhof - The Wooden House
3.0 out of 5 stars
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
9 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
11 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all Amsterdam hotels