In the beginning of the 17th century the 'Jordaan' was inhabited by poor people and laborers. It was the ghetto of Amsterdam. When the huguenots (members of the Reformed communion of France) fled from France to this area in the late 17th century, the neighbourhood changed bit by bit and developped its own lifestyle. It is said that Jordaan is derived from the French word Jardin (garden). You will notice a lot of streets with flower names here.
In the Jordaan you can find some lovely hidden green courtyards, called binnenhofje.
In the 17th century some prosperous citizens had houses built around an inner courtyard. Those places were meant for old and poor people.
You have to enter a door and a corridor before you come on an inner courtyard from where you can enter each little house. Many courtyards have a lovely garden and are really worth a visit.
Some courtyards that you can visit:
Lindenhofje, Lindengracht 94-112
Suykerhofje, Lindengracht 149-163
Claes Claesz, Eerste Egelantiersdwarsstraat 3
Raepenhof, Palmgracht 28
Bossehofje, Palmgracht 40
No, I am not talking about the "Walletjes". This most typical Amsterdam neighbourhood is for sure the "Jordaan". This area was inhabited for a while by many French refugees (Hugonotes) and as for the greens in this place, it deserved the nickname "Jardin" (garden in French). Later it became more and more pronounciated as "Jordaan" and it became the folk nieghbourhood of the town. If you want to visit a "brown" cafe: this is the place. If you want to listen to "Amsterdam smartlap" (tearjurking sing-a-longs) this here is paradise. The area is also very beautiful in canalhouses and history.
This is one of my favorite places to just sit and pass the time.
Along the Prinsengracht, below the bridge over Oude Leliegracht, are some tables right on the canal. The cafe above it has servers that will come down and bring you anything you want in the way of koffie, drinks, broodjes, etc.
It's very peaceful looking east down the small Leliegracht canal.
Ducks and small boats paddle by quietly and almost everyone seems to understand this is a place to chill quietly and relax.
I think they leave the ugly-coloured plastic chairs there because they are so awful no one will steal them. But the canal is beautiful and peaceful and the food & drinks are very good.
The Jordaan was built at the west side of the canals as a place to live for the members of the working class. Later immigrants started living here too. Highlights in the area are the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk and simply stolling around the canals.
In the Theo Thijssen Museum you can see all about this Dutch writer, teacher, Trade Union Administrator and Social-Democratic politician (1873-1943). He is known by his book Kees de jongen.
Furthermore the history of the Jordaan city quarter is on display.
Th - Su: 12AM - 5PM
Admission: Euro 2.00
If you enjoy Amsterdam as much as I do, then you may occasionally suffer from "A'Dam withdrawal."
Here is not a cure but something that will help a little:
Walking through virtual Amsterdam
At this site, Harrie van der Haghen has created a true virtual walk through most of Amsterdam Center's streets.
While not as large an area as covered by Channels.nl's "taxi", all blocks and angles are covered in photos. There are even different resolutions to choose based on your bandwidth to save time for dialup users.
Using the link above I actually can walk from my A'Dam hotel on Gravenstraat, down or up Nieuwendijk from the Dam all the way to Centraal Station, through the Jordaan, etc. block-by-block, stop and look or walk in any direction.
When I get the "I miss Amsterdam" blues, I can now virtually walk out my hotel door, down the small narrow street/alley behind Nieuwkerk to the Jordaan looking around and taking side trips as I like, just like I was there.
Kind of a cool site,
Not the real thing, but not bad.
Check it out.
This is the district between the BROUWERSGRACHT and the ELANDGRACHT and is perhaps the most famous neighbourhood of Amsterdam, apart from the Red-Light District.....
Its old houses and canals provide the visitor with a taste, a touch of typical AMSTERDAM.
Once it was a working-class area but now it is very sought-after, expecially the expensive converted warehouses.
The JORDAAN is now inhabited by a colourful mixture of the natives, the "JORDANEZEN", students and well-to-do businessmen.
The 17th Century district with its own traditions and its own informal and relaxed atmosphere has many narrow streets and picturesque canals.
The Jordaan offers a wealth of unique SHOPPING opportunities....it has many fashion boutiques, small speciality stores and indoor markets, among which DE LOOIER. This is the largest permanent indoor ART & ANTIQUES center of the Netherlands with over 85 stalls.
Close to the WESTERTOREN on the PRINSENGRACHT you will find the ANNE FRANK HOUSE MUSEUM: follow this LINK , which will take you there immediately!
There aren't many spectacular major MUSTS here but THE JORDAAN itself is remarkable!
It's the place real Amsterdammers live.
A good startpoint is a place the locals named The Johnny Jordaanplein (at the South of the middle of the Nine little streets).
There you find the statues of the local singers Johnny Jordaan and Tante Leen and musicians Johnny Meijer and Manke Nelis.
In 2010 a new statue was added: Bolle Jan and tante Mien; it was unveiled by their son Rene Froger (also a Dutch singer).
In the nearby café you can sing along with the local Dutch songs.
At the Westerkerk church (Singel canal side) a plaque of the famous singer Willy Alberti can be found.
The statue of another famous Dutch singer, André Hazes, is not located in the Jordaan area, but at the Albert Cuyp street market in "De Pijp" city quarter.
Its area is slightly more than 2 km and is a maze of small streets that give this area its special appeal. Above is famous for its hidden gardens, which once used to hang clothes or bleached in the sun and they do not like to talk much so that it retains its charm with the arrival of tourists. Its name comes from the word garden, which is quite likely if we realize the name of some of its streets, referring to flowers or plants.
Su extensión es de algo mas de 2 km y es un laberinto de pequeñas calles que dan a esta zona su especial atractivo. Sobretodo tiene fama por sus jardines escondidos, que antaño se utilizaban para tender la ropa o blanquearlas al sol y de los que no les gusta hablar mucho para que no pierda su encanto con el llegar de los turistas. Su nombre procede de la palabra jardín, algo bastante probable si nos percatarnos del nombre de algunas de sus calles, referentes a flores o plantas.
Nowadays the Jordaan is compared to the rest of the town an oasis of peace with a labyrinth of narrow streets and little canals, nice for strolling around courtyards, art studios, and monumental buildings with stone tablets, oldfashioned ‘brown’ pubs, boutiques or galleries.
Hundreds of artist discovered the Jordaan in the 70th because of the low rent of houses in these little streets ...
In one word: lovely!
The tranquil side of Amsterdam, away from the main touristc areas. It was just lovely getting lost amongst the canals and the narrow lanes. We spent time nosing into the little boutiques and quirky shops and taking plenty of pictures of the houses that are all higldy pigidly!
It is such a short walk from the city centre, I understand that it used to be a rough and ready working-class area but all I saw were local yuppies jogging around the narrow streets, listening to their iPods. :-) It is a residential district, but it has so much character & life to it. It is a good place to cycle around if you want to do that.
A former working class area which has become very popular with well-to-do people as well! You will find a colorful mixture of original 'Jordanezen', students, business people and creatives. The area is amazing to stroll around: no major sights, just the atmosphere is great! Easygoing and peaceful, lots of bars, restaurants and interesting little shops.
I knew of Johnny Jordaan and Tante Lien from listening to the radio from Holland many years ago. Not that I understood many of the words but listening to the music each time I was transported back to Amsterdam - there is no music like it in the English speaking world - accordions and earthy highly accented vocals and all I can describe as instantly recognisable Dutch melodies - you just know it comes from Holland. I suppose this is the equivalent of Jacques Brel and Paris or Ian Drury and London.
So in the Jordaan area near Elandsgracht is a square dedicated to this singer and his band colleagues. If you are Dutch you will know of him and I doubt many non Dutch people know o him but if you want to listen to music that reminds you of Amsterdam search out his songs. All in Dutch of course but even if like me you do not understand the words it does not matter - its the feel of the music that matters.
Slightly run down with litter everywhere and some shady looking young men hanging around but there is a busy street next to it and I was not worried.