a mediaeval city gate on Nieuwmarkt square

The Waag ('weigh house') is a remnant of the former city walls in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Originally it was one of the city gates.


View on De Waag from Kloveniersburgwal

Old defensive walls

The city walls that the 'Sint Anthoniespoort' (former name of the Waag) was part of were built in the years 1481-1494. These walls have now completely disappeared and the only remnants are this gate, the lower part of another gate, the Regulierspoort (now the Munttoren) and one defence tower, the Schreierstoren.

When in the late 16th century the city expanded the wall was torn down and the gate lost its function. The Nieuwmarkt (new market) was created around it and the weighing scales for the market were placed in the former gate. The name stems from that period (Waag is an old Dutch word for scale).

The Waag today

Today it houses Waag Society , institute for art, science and technology, and it has restaurant In de Waag on the ground floor.

Oldest gable stone

The building carries the oldest plaque in Amsterdam, which reads "On 28 April 1488 the first stone of this gate was laid."

Medieval guilds

The upper floors housed 4 guilds for some time, namely those of the smiths, painters, masons and surgeons. Each guild had its own entrance tower.

The Waag is depicted in Rembrandt's 1632 painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. The surgeons' guild commissioned this painting for their guildhall in the Waag.

In 1691 a theatrum anatomicum was added, which became famous for admitting (paying) members of the public to witness human dissections.

After the guilds were dissolved around 1795 the building served numerous purposes, later housing a fire brigade and 2 museums before it was handed over to a foundation in 1990. This had plans to partly destroy the building, but it went bankrupt before any plans were carried out.

The neighbourhood and monument lovers convinced the Amsterdam city council that the building deserved a better fate. It was decided to restore it in keeping with its mediaeval background.

De Waag

Nieuwmarkt 4
Amsterdam (Centrum)


The Waag is located right in the old centre, at walking distance from Centraal Station

directions_subway 51 53 54 Nieuwmarkt
local_parking de Bijenkorf

Opening hours
Sun 09:00 - 22:30
Mon 11:00 - 22:30
Tue 11:00 - 22:30
Wed 11:00 - 22:30
Thu 09:00 - 22:30
Fri 09:00 - 22:30
Sat 09:00 - 22:30

official websites
restaurant - café

Waag Society - new media institution and medialab

more impressions


Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632)

in de waag