Amsterdam Sights

Chinatown

oldest Chinese district of the European Continent


Nieuwmarkt

Chinatown is the Chinese district of Amsterdam. It has exploded in recent decades. It's gone beyond it's confines in the Red Light District and is now spilling over past the Nieuwmarkt.

The Chinatown area includes numerous Indonesian, Malaysian, and Thai restaurants, shops, salons, apothecaries, markets and more.

The Chinese of Amsterdam

The Chinese people who arrived in the Netherlands from around 1900 onwards were nearly all seafarers and, in particular, stokers who worked on the steamships of the big shipping companies.

In Amsterdam, the Chinese community lived in and around the Binnen Bantammerstraat . The Dutch public only really became familiar with the Chinese when they began to sell peanut biscuits on the streets in 1931.

Restaurants

In 1928, the first Chinese restaurant (named 'Kong Hing'), which also attracted Dutch diners, was opened in the Binnen Bantammerstraat. The Chinese population consequently grew after the Second World War.

The Binnen Bantammerstraat remained the centre of the Chinese in Holland for a long time. Apart from the string of restaurants, it was also home to gambling houses and opium dens that were only open to the Chinese themselves.

In the many REAL Chinese restaurants - as opposed to Indonesian Chinese which is lacking the finesse of true Chinese cuisine - you can get authentic and really tasty Chinese food, like spicy Sichuan or Hunnan. Fo Guang Shan templeThese restaurants are easy to spot as the ducks are usually hung in the front window.

Besides restaurants and markets, there are some very interesting shops with all sorts of dry goods from China. Everything from Dragon masks to ceramics to incense can be found in these stores.

The new Fo Guang Shan temple , a Taiwanese organization, on the Zeedijk is a testament to the prosperity of the local Chinese.

You can also find apothecaries selling all sorts of Asian remedies for whatever ails you. Martial arts schools can focus your mind and body and help develop confidence and clarity.

Chinese festive celebrations

New Year's Day and Chinese New Year is celebrated yearly in Chinatown with dragon dance, lion dance and loud, explosive firework. Each year also Vesak - birthday of Gautama Buddha - is celebrated in May by the local Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple.

So the "new" Chinatown in Amsterdam has already transformed the red light district into a more friendly place for tourists and locals to enjoy Asian culture and great food!


The Zeedijk with its traditional Chinese restaurants and shops


Lion Dance in Chinatown -- This annual traditional Chinese lion dance is performed by local Kung-Fu clubs to congratulate Chinese shopkeepers and businessmen in Amsterdam's Chinatown for the new year.


Chinatown Amsterdam on a map

'Chinese streets' that belong to Chinatown are: Binnen Bantammerstraat, Elleboogsteeg, Geldersekade, Molensteeg, Nieuwmarkt, Oosterdokskade, Rechtboomssloot, Stormsteeg, Zeedijk

Chinatown Amsterdam

since 1911


Nearby sights



De Waag
mediaeval city gate where Rembrandt painted his 'Anatomical Lesson of Dr. Tulp'


Rembrandt House
the house in which Rembrandt lived and worked from 1639 till 1658.

Zuiderkerk
First protestant church of Amsterdam




recommended website

Chinese Radio & TV Amsterdam (CRTV)
Listen to live broadcasts in Mandarin, Cantonese or Dutch




amsterdam directory List of Asian restaurants in Amsterdam