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

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rachael Corrigan (4 months ago)
Lovely place in the middle of everything,Perfect for a romantic meal.surprisingly fast service considering that they were very busy.Food came out presented beautifully and still hot,A bit pricey but definitely worth it.I’d love to come back one day
Simon Toon (4 months ago)
We stayed in Amsterdam and visited Waag on the evening of our 30th Anniversary. Whitley and the team treated us fantastically. We had the most wonderful meal (Cote De Boeuf) and it was excellent. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I cannot recommend this restaurant more highly. Thank you Whitley!
Kwok Ng (7 months ago)
A historic place (former Gate to the city, then market place, followed by a Museum) with character. Lots of staff as a cafe and restaurant. A fixed menu that is presented well and timed well. So it is good the kitchen is in order. The house wines were a bit bland, not even worth using vivino for it... And the food could have had a bit more flavours and taste. Also I was a bit surprised to have gotten the beetroot salad with cous cous as a starter, and then cous cous for the main dish... Have they got a bit too much cous cous? None the less, the kitchen is accommodating for dietary requirements. The interior amazing. They use candles for light to keep the natural ambience. Definitely worth the visit.
Melissa (8 months ago)
Beautiful and good atmosphere. We went for the High Wine & High Beer. The combination of food and wine was delicious. Don’t mistake it for a dinner portion, it really is more like a snack. Great surroundings and terrace if the sun is shining!
Zoé Gotti (9 months ago)
Wonderful restaurant for dinner or a relaxing tea time. Great for a date night or with friends. The staff is super friendly and the food is delicious. They have a wide range of dishes and drinks. The deco is very cozy and the atmosphere is lovely. They even apologised for the inconvenience of only having one toilet.
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