Dam Square, Amsterdam

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  • Dam Square
    by alyf1961
  • Dam Square
    by alyf1961
  • Dam Square
    by alyf1961
  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    Dam Square - Where It All Began

    by nicolaitan Updated Jan 16, 2013

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    Dam Square, Royal Palace in Background
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    This irregular rectangular square half a mile south of Central Station is a logical starting spot for any historically oriented visitor to Amsterdam. It is stated to be the site of the original dam across the Amstel River in the 13th Century, allowing for the first time direct communication by land between settlements on the banks. Historians are unsure of the exact year, even the century - it seems likely that earth dikes and other dams were present here for many years as the name Amsterdam is documented at least 100 years earlier. Gradually the dam grew in size, with two squares later combined to the present one. Ships sailed right up the river and loaded and unloaded cargo right onto the square, a safe harbor and one of the factors favoring the city's development as a world trade center. The river was filled in during the 19th Century becoming the main thoroughfare named Damrak, today a totally tourist oriented location.

    The square is a natural gathering place for both visitors and locals, served by multiple tram lines and easily reached on foot from anywhere in the central city. Important buildings of historic import surround much of the square, although sadly Madame Tussaud's Wax Emporium also fronts. On one corner stands the venerable high class Krasnopolski Hotel. Important activities include people watching in good weather, gathering at the National Monument, watching street performers, and feeding fat pigeons. During the latter part of our visit, a travelling carnival ( image 4 ) set up a group of rides and food kiosks with resultant chaos - certainly hope that square view rooms in the big hotel are soundproof.

    But Dam Square is lacking in some amenities normally seen in major squares both in other cities and in Amsterdam. The surrounding buildings are important tourist attractions but the facades are generally drab and grey and there were no cafes or open air restaurants directly on the square, detractions. The original high yellow sandstone exterior of the Royal Palace now offers the dull grey of auto exhaust. The square remains most important in the historical context.

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  • Helga67's Profile Photo

    Amsterdam Centre

    by Helga67 Written Oct 12, 2004

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    Damrak

    The historical centre of Amsterdam is situated between Central Station (north), Muntplein (south), Spuistraat (west) and Rokin, Damrak (east).

    This is the commercial and economical part of Amsterdam. Here you will find a lot of shops in pedestriazed zones all leading to the most important square of the city "Dam". On this square you can admire the National Monument, New Church and Royal Palace.

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  • spanishguy's Profile Photo

    De Dam: the main square in town

    by spanishguy Written Sep 7, 2008

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    De Bijenkorf department store
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    Dam Square is the main town square in Amsterdam. Its notable buildings and frequent events (as street artists) make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city. It lies in the historical center of Amsterdam, not far from the main transportation hub, Centraal Station. It is roughly rectangular in shape. A short distance beyond the northeast corner lies the main red-light district, de Wallen. On the west end of the square is the neoclassical Royal Palace, beside it are the 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The National Monument, a white stone pillar erected in 1956 to memorialize the victims of World War II, dominates the opposite side of the square. Also overlooking the plaza are the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store De Bijenkorf.

    La Plaza Dam es la principal de plaza de Ámsterdam. Sus destacados edicios y los frecuentes eventos (como espectáculos callejeros) convierten la plaza es uno de los lugares más importantes de la ciudad. Se encuentra en el centro de Ámsterdam, no lejos del príncipal polo de transportes, la Estación Central. Es prácticamente rectangular. A muy poca distancia de su esquina noreste está el principal barrio rojo, el Wallen. Al oeste se encuentra el neoclásico Palacio Real, junto a él la iglesia gótica del siglo XV Nieuwe Kerk (Nueva Iglesia) y el museo de cera Madame Tusseaud's. El Monumento Nacional, un pilar de piedra blanca erigido en 1956 para recordar a las víctimas de la II Guerra Mundial, domina el lado opuesto de la plaza. También dominando la plaza se encuentran el Gran Hotel NH Krasnapolsky y el enorme centro comercil De Bijenkorf.

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  • mazzap's Profile Photo

    Dam Square

    by mazzap Updated Feb 9, 2006

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    Pay up BEFORE you snap!!

    A lively and vast expanse of cobbled area surrounded by grand but grey buildings. Not a scenic place - it lacks colour and it needs some flowers – and maybe some GRASS (the kind you can sit on)!!

    There was also a distinct feeling that you weren’t supposed to outstay your welcome here – because unless you sat on the steps of the monument, there was nowhere else to sit!

    Oh, and don’t forget to drop a coin or two in their collection hat if you want a pic of the living statues – they can get quite upset if you try and snap them - as this guy did with me! (If he hadn't been so rude, he might have got something!!)

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  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    Dam Square for people watching ....

    by kymbanm Updated May 18, 2006

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    My 1st view of the monument

    I was wandering the city w/out a map, exited a side street and entered Dam Square! I sat at a cafe and consulted my map to see where I really was at that point. Coming from the back of the monument, all I saw was a phallic pilar flanked by naked male bums of stone ... nice, but I really wanted to know more about it :)

    This area is a hub of activity, and a great place to use a guide - if you know where you are staying in relation to Dam Square, you can never get lost!

    This area has tons of history, so the link I've provided will let you know, what I didn't :)
    NOTE: the original links I provided are no longer active. A real shame since they were amazing and full of information. I have updated the links today, but they aren't as good - so I will be continuing to look for other links that provide more history of the Square, and the feelings behind the monument.

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  • H-TownJourneyman's Profile Photo

    Dam Square: Dam, thats a lot of bikes!!!

    by H-TownJourneyman Written Nov 4, 2005

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    Dam National Monument

    Walking along Rokin street up from the Leidseplein, my friend and I came upon Dam Square. The first thing that appeared in our field of vision was the Dam National Monument, the grand pilar situated in the middle of the square. But the next thing that caught both of our eyes were all the bikes that were parked in the square. Now granted, Amsterdam is the city of bicycles, and there are bikes being ridden all over the city. But I had not seen that many bikes grouped together since my visit to the Schwinn factory outlet (see my page on that visit, JUST KIDDING!). Anyways, after the intial bike trauma you may or may not experience, you will notice the lovely Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace), the Niewe Kerk church, and of course, Madame Tussauds. And don't leave without checking out some of the street performers, just make sure you tip 'em if you want to snap a photo!

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  • Helga67's Profile Photo

    Dam

    by Helga67 Updated Oct 20, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dam

    At the end of the 13th century the first people (fishermen) settled here along the river Amstel and built a dyke (=dam). This is where the name Amsterdam is derived from.
    So this square is the real heart and oldest part of Amsterdam.

    Today, this is a very lively square with lots of tourists, shoppers and street animators. During the night, you will find drugs users here looking for some drugs and money.

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Dam Square

    by sue_stone Written Feb 16, 2004

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    Dam Square

    Although you will pay the dearest prices in town, why not have a drink or meal at a cafe on Dam Square, Amsterdam's main square, and do some people watching.

    We had breakfast at one of the cafe's and noted that all the locals there just had a beer for their breakfast!!

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  • leafmcgowan's Profile Photo

    De Dam

    by leafmcgowan Written Apr 28, 2009

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    The "Dam Square" is the central most part of Amsterdam, minus Central Station. Its called "de Dam" in Dutch, or simply "The Dam". Here resides notable buildings and events that bring together more visitors to the Netherlands than any other places in the country. Deep in the historical center of the city, it is located only 750 meters from "Centraal Station" - the main transportation hub. The square is rectangular in shape, roughly 200 x 100 meters in dimension. It connects Damrak, Rokin, Muntplein (Coin square), Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Damstraat, and Muttoren streets. The main Red Light District (de Wallen) is a hop and a skip from here. On the west end is the neoclassical Royal Palace, bordered by the 15th century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The National Monument is in its heart which is a white stone pillar designed by J.J.P. Oud in 1956 to memorialize the victims of WWII, and is one of the most famous meeting places in the city, and is where the New Amsterdam tours meet daily. The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store "De Bijenkorf" also border the square. The square was originally a Dam built in 1270 until 1544 in the river Amstel. As the dam built up, it became wide enough for a town square, as the city developed around it. The square began with the "Naatje of the Dam" statue in 1890, but was taken down in 1914. The weigh house that once stood here was demolished in 1808 by order of Louis Bonaparte who complained it blocked his view from the royal palace. The Damrak of the Amstel River was partially filled in during the 19th century and became the land blocked square it is now since then. The first stock exchange, the Beurs van Zocher was also originally housed here, where the department store now sits. The square became a "national" square well known to everyone in the Netherlands and became the main location for demonstrations, riots, street performers, meetings, and celebrations. Every May 4th it houses the National Memorial Day celebration at the monument. Queens Day hosts a big funfair in the center. Throughout the year various fairs and carnivals will set up here too.

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  • Rupanworld's Profile Photo

    Dam Square - a very happening place

    by Rupanworld Written Feb 2, 2008

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    I found the Dam square full of hustle and bustle, lots of people, some with work, others without, just people watching. It is a central area in Amsterdam close to the main railway station Centraal. The dam square hosts the Madame Tussaud's wax museum, the Royal palace and the national monument and is also an entry or exit way to the famous Red Light District. However, while I have heard a lot of people going there just for people watching, I had a different experience. I came across a variety of vehicles there and was impressed. So here are some of them.

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  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Amsterdam, that is the Dam (square)

    by Pavlik_NL Written Dec 13, 2003

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    Dam-square, centre of Amsterdam & the Netherlands

    Centre of town is the “Dam”-square. Here used to be a dam in the river “Amstel” and the start of our nations capitol was a fact. Now-a-days this square is not only the centre of Amsterdam, but on certain days also the centre of our whole country. Royal highlights (like changes of the crown or – like lately – the wedding of crownprince Willem-Alexander are held here. The palace, a prominent building on the square, gets back then his official royal function. The new church (pressed in the corner right of the palace) is the place where the rituals are taking place then. On the 4th of May the ceremonies around the “monument” (white column with sculptures) are followed by almost all Dutch, in rememberance of all those who fell for the peace in the world.

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  • micas_pt's Profile Photo

    Dam Square

    by micas_pt Written Dec 7, 2003

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    After walking through Damrak you will reach Dam Square - a bustling city centre square with loads of things to do and see. As many streets in Amsterdam, this square is crossed by trams, so any attempt to shoot a photo will be crossed by those electrical lines up there. As i visited Amsterdam by the end of November, Dam Square had some x-mas decoration and some wooden stands selling sweets. I even found a clown hanging around amusing children.

    As you reach Dam Square you will be able to see: Madame Tussauds Museum, Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), the National Monument and the Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace).

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  • georeiser's Profile Photo

    Dam square

    by georeiser Written Aug 28, 2009

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    Dam square

    The Dam square in Amsterdam is a natural centre of the city. The square is surrounded by famous landmarks such as the Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, National monument and Madame Tussauds. The distance from the central station. It is 750 meters from the the Central station, and you pass through the river Damrak on the way. There are also several tram lines stops here.

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  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Dam Square

    by June.b Written Jun 19, 2010

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    Not damn! it's Dam. you'll never complete with an Amsterdam visit if you haven't hangout at the huge dam square.

    It's a 10-15 minutes walk from Amsterdam Central Station or you may wish to take the tram to get here. The Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, Madame Tussaud's museum, the National Monument, etc.

    It's the meeting place for most m- like the free walking tour that I took - as it's known to everyone. There are also a lot of people doing their own show - magic, acrobat, what-have-they - also there was a political demonstration of a small group from I think Azerbaijan when I was there.

    It's the town square so definitely it would be your first sight after walking along Damrak.

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  • Roggeveen's Profile Photo

    Dam square - city centre

    by Roggeveen Written Mar 7, 2006

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    It's a place where many tourist meet. Around the Dam square you'll find several attractions; the Royal Palace, Nieuwe kerk (with several exhibitions), Bijenkorf (one of Amsterdams largest luxury shops.), monument on the Dam, pigeons, and start of several shopping streets.

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