Hofjes / Almshouses

inner courtyards with almshouses

Almshouses (or inner courtyards) are collections of small apartments around a central courtyard, built for the elderly.


Begijnhof is a peaceful place, cut off from Amsterdam's traffic noice. It is situated in the heart of the city near Spui square

Hofjes are inner courtyards surrounded by charming small houses that are quiet and peaceful.

Almshouses are collections of small apartments (usually 12 or 13 in number) around a central courtyard with a well-tended garden, often with a single gateway to the outside world, tucked away behind the street facades and canals of Amsterdam's inner city.


The most famous of all courtyards in Amsterdam is the Begijnhof, that dates back to the 14th century.

It is located in the buzzing heart of the city adjacent to Spui square.

This courtyard was originally inhabited by Begijntjes (Beguines), religious women who didn't want to enter a convent.


The first 'hofjes' were founded in the 13th century and are a typical Dutch phenomenon*. Most of them were built in the 17th century as a kind of charity and protection.

Wealthy Amsterdammers built them to shelter elderly widows, for free, in the last years of their life.

Nowadays they are inhabited mostly by students and artists but still remain a serene oasis frozen in time.

Open to visitors

Many of them are free to enter, so you could look at the gardens and entryways, as long as you don't break the peace.

* You'll find more almshouses in the low countries of Belgium and the Netherlands, starting in the tumultuous mid-1600s, a time of religious upheaval, the Spanish Inquisition, and plague.

Hofjes in the Jordaan

Especially the Jordaan neighbourhood has a high concentration of hofjes.

A fine example of one of these courtyards, and one of the largest of Amsterdam, is the Karthuizerhof.

It was built in 1650, and listed on the inside of the gate are the names of charitable donors who made it possible for the city to build the house.

Walking tour

Take a walking tour along the inner courtyards of the Jordaan at your own pace.

Jordaanweb offers a map with 24 hofjes in the Jordaan, so you could discover the many picturesque streets and hidden gardens of this charming neighbourhood.

more impressions

Hofje van De Zeven Keurvorsten

Hofje van De Zeven Keurvorsten from 1645 was intended for poor, elderly Roman Catholic ladies of impeccable behaviour

place Tuinstraat 197-233 / Jordaan

hofje hofje

Van Brienenhofje courtyard from 1797 was only opened to Catholics who were living at the limit of poverty.

place Prinsengracht 85-133 / Canal Belt


Looyershofje from 1828 was intended for Dutch Reformed single women over the age of 50 years.

place Nieuwe Looiersstraat 20-40 / Centrum


Suyckerhoff-hofje from 1667 was built for Protestant elderly women and widows.

place Lindengracht 147-165 / Jordaan


Regency room interior of Deutzenhofje from 1694, one of the most beautiful hofjes in Amsterdam which was intended for old servants and poor family members.

place Prinsengracht 855-899 / Canal Belt


Zon's Hofje from 1765 (1677) is tucked away behind the houses of the Prinsengracht and accessible via a long corridor. It was intended for Mennonite women over the age of 50.

place Prinsengracht 155-173 / Canal Belt

hofjes van amsterdam

Rent a Bike

and Go for a Bicycle Ride to the Hofjes

Bossche Hofje

Bossche Hofje from 1648 was intended for 8 elderly Mennonite women.

place Palmgracht 20-26 / Jordaan


Karthuizerhof from 1650 was intended for widows (with children) and unmarried women. Built by city architect Daniƫl Stalpaert.

place Karthuizersstraat 87-171 / Jordaan