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 1481–1494 and consisted of defensive towers and city gates connected by walls of brick with a natural stone pediment. All that remains of the walls is some sandstone in the Geldersekade canal wall.

When the city expanded beyond its walls the late 16th century, Saint Anthony's Gate lost its function as a city gate. Shortly thereafter, during the years 1603–1613, the walls were demolished. In 1614, the present Nieuwmarkt square was created by covering the canal on either side of the gate. In addition, the square was raised, causing part of the brickwork of the gate to disappear below ground. This makes the building appear shorter than it actually is.

In the early 17th century, the former city gate was repurposed as a weigh house, a public building where various goods were weighed. This new weigh house was needed to relieve the Waag op de Dam, the original weigh house on Dam square, which had become too small for the needs of the rapidly growing city.

An inner courtyard was added in 1617–1618 by covering the area between the front and main gates. A number of guilds were housed on the top floors of the building: the blacksmiths' guild, the painter's guild, the masons' guild and the surgeons' guild. Each guild had its own entrance gate. The guild emblems are still visible over these entrances. The gate of the masons' guild includes sculpture work by Hendrick de Keyser. Over the entrance for the surgeons' guild is the inscription Theatrum Anatomicum.

In 1690–1691, a large dome-shaped hall was added, topped by a central octagonal tower. The interior also dates to this time period.

After falling into disuse as a weigh house, the Waag served a range of different functions. In the 19th century it was used consecutively as a fencing hall, a furniture workshop, a workshop for oil lamps used for street lighting, a fire station, and as the city archives. In the first half of the 19th century, punishments were carried out in front of the building. There was even a guillotine.

In the 20th century, the building was used primarily as a museum. It was the original location of the Amsterdams Historisch Museum (now Amsterdam Museum) as well as the Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum). Following the restoration, the building was rented out. Waag Society, a foundation that aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, art and culture, is housed on the upper floors. The ground floor is now a café and restaurant.

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Founded: 1481–1494
Category: Castles and fortifications in Netherlands

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

A Google User (11 months ago)
Really Interesting!
A Google User (12 months ago)
The Waag is a 15th-century building on Nieuwmarkt square in Amsterdam. It was originally a city gate and part of the walls of Amsterdam. The building has also served as a guildhall, museum, fire station and anatomical theatre, among other things. The Waag is the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam.
A Google User (13 months ago)
87 Europese AVANTIME bezitters waren hier tijdens een perfecte lunch op vrijdag 22 juni 2018. Strakke organisatie (nodig voor verdere activiteiten), goed en betaalbaar eten en drinken; en dan nog een heel vriendelijke bediening. Niets dan lof. Een aanrader! Dank jullie wel.
A Google User (16 months ago)
This is a most beautiful and historical building. I feel unfortunately disappointed at the level of disrespect from some of the staff in the waag Cafe towards both myself and the building itself. I have never written a negative review before but am sitting in here now, wanting to feel and enjoy the ambiance, but the staffs ridiculously loud voices and clanging of everything is disrespectful. Absolutely gutted as I adore the history and beauty of Amsterdam but feel let down here. I have Not enjoyed my experience one bit here.
A Google User (2 years ago)
The Weighing House
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