Top Historic Sights in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Explore the historic highlights of Amsterdam

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Royal Palace is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament. The palace was built as the Town Hall of the City of Amsterdam and was opened as such on 29 July 1655 by Cornelis de Graeff, the political and social leader of Amsterdam. It is now called as the royal palace and used by the monarch for entertaining and official functions during state visits and other ...
Founded: 1655 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Nieuwe Kerk

After the Oude Kerk ('Old Church') grew too small for the expanding population of the town, the bishop of Utrecht in 1408 gave permission to build a second parish church in Amsterdam. The Nieuwe Kerk ('new church') was consecrated to St. Mary and St. Catharine. The church was damaged by the city fires of 1421 and 1452 and burned down almost entirely in 1645, after which it was rebuilt in Gothic style. ...
Founded: 1408 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000. The collection contains more than 2,000 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age by notable painters such as Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt, and Rembra ...
Founded: 1800 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

American Hotel

The American Hotel, locally known as the Hotel Americain, was built in 1898-1900 by W. Kromhout and W. G. Jansen in the Berlage style. In 1927-1928 an expansion was realized from a design by the architect G.J. Rutgers in collaboration with K. Bakker in 1927-1928. Both the expansion and the café are National Heritage sites. The Amsterdam American Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide.
Founded: 1898-1900 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk ('old church') is Amsterdam’s oldest building, founded ca. 1213. Over time, this structure was replaced by a stone church that was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. The church stood for only a half-century before the first alterations were made; the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. Not long ...
Founded: 1213 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Beurs van Berlage

The Beurs van Berlage was designed as a commodity exchange by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage and constructed between 1896 and 1903. It influenced many modernist architects, in particular functionalists and the Amsterdam School. It is now used as a venue for concerts, exhibitions and conferences. The building is constructed of red brick, with an iron and glass roof and stone piers, lintels and corbels. Its entrance is u ...
Founded: 1896-1903 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stedelijk Museum

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for modern art, contemporary art and design. The 19th century building was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman and the 21st century wing with the current entrance was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. The collection comprises modern and contemporary art and design from the early 20th century up to the 21st century. It features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kand ...
Founded: 1874 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Basilica of St. Nicholas

The Basilica of St. Nicholas is the major Catholic church in Amsterdam. Officially the church was called St. Nicholas inside the Walls, i.e. the oldest part of the Amsterdam defence works. The architect, Adrianus Bleijs (1842-1912) designed the church basing himself on a combination of several revival styles of which Neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance are the most prominent models. The facade is crowned by two towers with a ...
Founded: 1884-1887 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the building. As well as the preservation of the hiding place — known in Dutch as the Achterhuis — and an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, the museum acts as an exhibition space to highlight all forms of persecution and discri ...
Founded: 1960 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

English Reformed Church

The English Reformed Church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam. It is home to an English-speaking congregation which is affiliated to the Church of Scotland and to the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The Begijnhof, an enclosed courtyard, was a 14th-century residence for the sisterhood of the Catholic Beguines, and the church was originally established as their chapel. It was confiscated from the Catholic la ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Westerkerk

Westerkerk ('Western church') was one of the first purposely built Protestant churches. Today the Westerkerk remains the largest church in the Netherlands that was built for Protestants. In was built in 1620-1631 after a design by the late Renaissance architect Hendrick de Keyser in the Dutch Renaissance style and in the form of a patriarchal cross. The spire, called the Westertoren ('Western tower'), ...
Founded: 1620-1631 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Waag

The Waag ('weigh house') was originally a city gate and part of the walls of Amsterdam. It is the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam. The gate, called as Sint Antoniespoort (Saint Anthony"s Gate), was part of the medieval city walls along the moat formed by the current Singel canal and the canals of the Kloveniersburgwal and the Geldersekade. These walls were constructed during the period ...
Founded: 1481–1494 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Munttoren

The Munttoren ('Coin Tower') was originally part of the Regulierspoort, one of the main gates in Amsterdam"s medieval city wall. The gate, built in the years 1480, consisted of two towers and a guard house. The name of the tower refers to the fact that it was used to mint coins in the 17th century. After the gate went up in flames in a 1618 fire, only the guard house and part of the western tower remained ...
Founded: 1620 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Schreierstoren

The Schreierstoren, originally part of the medieval city wall of Amsterdam, was built in the 15th century. It was the location from which Henry Hudson set sail on his journey to Northern America. This expedition would lead to the discovery of the island of Manhattan among others. It was built as a defense tower in 1481. It is currently a café.
Founded: 1481 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

De Krijtberg

De Krijtberg Kerk is a Roman Catholic church designed by Alfred Tepe and opened in 1883. The church is dedicated to St Francis Xavier and is one of the rectorates within the Roman Catholic parish of St Nicholas, and is recognised by its two pointed towers. Since 1654 it has been a Jesuit church and services there are in a variety of styles.
Founded: 1883 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Zuiderkerk

The Zuiderkerk ('southern church') was the city"s first church built specifically for Protestant services. It was constructed between 1603 and 1611. The distinctive church tower, which dominates the surrounding area, was not completed until 1614 and contains a carillon of bells built by the brothers Hemony, installed in 1656. The Zuiderkerk was used for church services until 1929. During the final (1944-19 ...
Founded: 1603-1611 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum is a house in the Jodenbreestraat, where Rembrandt lived and painted for a number of years. A few years ago the house was thoroughly reconstructed on the inside to show how the house would have looked in Rembrandt"s days. Adjoining (and linked to) the house is a modern building where work of Rembrandt is on display, mainly etchings and also a part of his collection of objects from all over ...
Founded: 1911 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canal Ring of Amsterdam

Built during the Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Canal Ring, known locally as the Grachtengordel, is comprised of a network of intersecting waterways. These were developed through the drainage and reclamation of land for new development. Yet what was initially a practical feature, allowing the city to grow beyond its fortified boundaries, subsequently evolved into the area’s characteristic gabled canal-sid ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ronde Lutherse Kerk

The Ronde Lutherse Kerk or Koepelkerk is a former Lutheran church designed by Adriaan Dortsman (ca. 1636-1682). It was opened in 1671. The organ was built by J Batz in 1830 and it was restored in 1983 by Flentrop Orgelbouw. In 1882 it was rebuilt after a fire. In 1935 the Lutherans left the building and it became a concert hall.
Founded: 1671 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Noorderkerk

The Noorderkerk ('northern church') was built between 1620–1623 to serve the rapidly growing population of the new Jordaan neighbourhood. The Jordaan already had a church, the Westerkerk, but the city government decided that a second church should be built to serve the northern part of the neighbourhood. The Noorderkerk became the church for the common people, while the Westerkerk was used mainly by the mi ...
Founded: 1620-1623 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Joods Historisch Museum

The Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) is dedicated to Jewish history, culture and religion, in the Netherlands and worldwide. The Joods Historisch Museum opened its doors in 1932 and was inititally housed at the Waag (Weighing House) on Nieuwmarkt square. Following the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, the museum was forced to close and much of the collection was lost. The museum reopene ...
Founded: 1932 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Moses and Aaron Church

In the first centuries after the Reformation, the public display of Roman Catholic services and accessories was not tolerated – officially forbidden in 1660 – in Amsterdam. So in 1641 the Franciscans opened a house church, the second of its kind in the city, at a house called the 'Moyses' (Moses), at the back of the present church. In 1682, the house was joined by the neighboring house 'Aäron' (Aaron) with the purcha ...
Founded: 1837-1841 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Montelbaanstoren

The Montelbaanstoren is a tower on bank of the canal Oudeschans. The original tower was built in 1516 for the purpose of defending the city. The top half, designed by Hendrick de Keyser, was extended to its current, decorative form in 1606.
Founded: 1516 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Oosterkerk

The Oosterkerk ('eastern church') is a Dutch Reformed church built in the period 1669-1671 by architect Daniël Stalpaert and completed by Adriaan Dortsman. The church bells were cast by Pieter Hemony. The church has not been used for church services since 1962, and fell into decay since then. It was restored in the 1980s. The layout of the church is in the shape of a Greek cross in which the space between ...
Founded: 1669-1671 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Defence Line of Amsterdam

The UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Defence Line of Amsterdam (in Dutch named Stelling van Amsterdam) is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam, consisting of 42 forts located between 10 to 15 kilometers from the centre, and lowlands that can easily be flooded in time of war. The flooding was designed to give a depth of about 30 cm, insufficient for boats to traverse. Any buildings within 1 km of th ...
Founded: 1880-1920 | Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.