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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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