Amsterdam Sights
Amsterdam Centrum

Amsterdam Centrum

The Centrum district (82,000 inhabitants) is divided into smaller neighbourhoods, all with their own characteristics and history.

Below a more detailed explanation of these neighborhoods, as well as other neighborhoods of note.

The Old Centre   CENTRUM
This area around the Dam and Nieuwmarkt, and through the neighborhood known as De Wallen (Red Light District), is the oldest part of the city.

Dam Square   CENTRUM
The Dam was built around 1270 between two dikes in order to prevent floodings. Now it is the central square between Rokin and Damrak. The Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, National Monument, and Madam Tussaud's are its main attractions. From the Dam Square Amsterdam's most commercial street (Kalverstraat) begins.

The Nieuwmarkt is dominated by a building known as De Waag, originally a gate in the Medieval city walls but converted into a weighing house after the walls were demolished in the 17th century. The square is located in Amsterdam's Chinatown, next to the De Wallen (Red Light District). There are many cafés and coffeeshops facing the square.

Red Light District (De Wallen)   CENTRUM
De Wallen, or, as it is known locally, Rossebuurt, is one of the main tourist attractions of Amsterdam. You'll find the Nieuwmarkt with the former city gate De Waag, Old Town Hall (nowadays Hotel The Grand), De Oude Kerk, Museum Our Lord in the Attic, Chinatown with the Fo Kuang Shan temple, and many one-room apartments rented by prostitutes, sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, and coffeeshops.

Grachtengordel (The Canal Belt)   CENTRUM
a series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten"), dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built.

Old Jewish quarter   CENTRUM
The Old Portuguese Synagogue, Jewish Cultural Museum, Hollandsche Schouwburg, and the Waterlooplein Market are a few of the sights of note. Also Artis Zoo and the Hortus Botanicus are situated in the neighborhood.

Jordaan   CENTRUM
Tightly packed streets and canals lies west of the Center, beyond the major canals. Once a neighborhood for the working class and emigrants, nowadays almost completely renovated and very popular among artists, students, professionals, young entrepreneurs, and tourists. It has a growing number of upscale boutiques and restaurants. No other Dutch neighborhood is sung about as much as De Jordaan.

The Spui quarter is the heart of the old city and is an excellent starting point from which to discover the rest of the city. Here you can find chic restaurants next to authentic old brown cafés and trendy fashion outlets next to second hand clothing shops. Visit the Flower Market, Begijnhof or Amsterdam Museum.

Spiegelkwartier   CENTRUM
In and around this street with its many characteristic Amsterdam facades are more than 70 art and antique shops. A must-see quarter for those with an eye for the unique, rare and beautiful.

Plantage/Artis   CENTRUM
In the 17th century 'The Plantage' (plantation) was a green area outside the city walls where Amsterdammers spent their free time. From 1848 onwards it became one of the most prominent areas of Amsterdam. The Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue tell about the rich and sad history of this area. Exotic plants can be seen in the Hortis Botanicus (botanical garden) and you can visit wildlife in Artis Zoo.

Leidseplein   CENTRUM
Amsterdam's most popular nightlife centre. In addition to performance venues, movie theaters, bars, and cafes, there are plenty of good hotels and restaurants at this frenetically busy square and its immediate surroundings.

Rembrandtplein   CENTRUM
Until Rembrandt's statue was unveiled in 1876 this square was called Botermarkt (Butter market). For over a century it has been the centre of Amsterdam's nightlife. Here you can find famous hotels, cafés, discos and the renowned Tuschinski theatre. In summer, sitting in one of the many outdoor cafés, you can see the world pass by till way past midnight.

The IJ Waterfront (Westelijke & Oostelijke Eilanden)   Centrum
Centered on Centraal Station and stretching east and west along both banks of the IJ, this fast-redeveloping area includes the artificial islands, warehouses, and other installations of Amsterdam's old harbor. A shiny new kind of Amsterdam is taking shape on parts of this waterfront where old facilities have been demolished and are being replaced by new apartments and modern offices. Main attractions in this area are the Maritime Museum, The Amsterdam, NEMO, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Cruise ships dock at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam . There are many mooring facilities for touring boats and inland cruise operations. Every year over 100 sea cruise ships and more than 700 river cruise ships are arriving in this part of the city and their number is growing.

The neighborhoods of De Wallen, Dam, Grachtengordel and Jordaan are the historical center of Amsterdam.


nearby Attractions

Begijnhof   enclosed courtyard
Dam Square
OBA   central public library
Oude Kerk
Our Lord in the Attic
Red Light District

nearby Hotels

nearby Lunch places

nearby Restaurants

How to get to Amsterdam?

Read our Travel information section

Photo Tour

» Old City Centre of Amsterdam (7)

Amsterdam in numbers

a short list of interesting facts and figures

more neighborhoods