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What to Do and See in the Jordaan District of Amsterdam

Updated on October 23, 2018
The Westertoren at the Prinsengracht
The Westertoren at the Prinsengracht | Source

Where is the Jordaan district (the most beautiful area of Amsterdam)?

The Jordaan is located to the west of the main canals, the socalled 'grachtengordel', and lies between the Brouwersgracht (north), the Lijnbaansgracht (west), the Passeerdersgracht (south) and the Prinsengracht (east).

How to get there?

It is at walking distance from the Central Station, Dam Square and the Leidseplein, but if you don't want to walk, there is ample public transport. I do not recommend you to drive, because parking is very expensive and it is difficult to find parking space.

Public transport

From Central Station: Take tram 13 or 17 and alight at the stop called Westermarkt. Cross the bridge, turn right (Prinsengracht) and you are in the Jordaan district.

From Dam Square: Take tram 14 and alight at the stop Westermarkt. Further, see above.

From Leidseplein: (1)Take bus 170, 172 or 174 and alight at the stop Rozengracht. Cross the road straight on, go right and then left into the Lijnbaansgracht. You have reached the Jordaan district.

(2) Take tram 10 and alight at stop Bloemgracht. Walk a little back to go to the left onto the Bloemgracht. You have arrived.

Photo credit: all photo's are by the author unless mentioned otherwise

A Few Pictures of the Bloemgracht

In december 2010 we had a lot of snow
In december 2010 we had a lot of snow | Source

Taken From the Bridge on the Previous Photo - and Looking Back


August 2012: The Bloemgracht looks quite bit different now. For me this is the most beautiful canal in the Jordaan.

What Can You Do in This Area of Amsterdam?

I think first you'll like to know where you can eat and drink

There are many resaturants and café's around in this small district. In the website from the Jordaaninfo you can find a list of 99 restaurants. This is not completely up to date, however. Some restaurants are missing.

One restaurant that I should like to mention that is not on the list is Restaurant Mantoe, the first Afghaan restaurant in the Netherlands. You don't need to choose what to eat, for everybody gets the same menu, which is different each day. I have been there twice and the food is supurb and not expensive. Their address is Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 13 in Amsterdam. Telephone: 020 42 163 74

For the vegetarians among you, I should like to recommend Restaurant De Bolhoed (this is on the list). A lovely little place.

With regard to café's, 66 are listed in the Jordaaninfo website. A very nice one is 't Smalle, on Egelantiersgracht 12, which you can see on the photo below.

Café 't Smalle


A nice, little café with a terrace on the Egelantiersgracht. (Actually, the café itself is not visible on this photo.)

People Queueing for the Anne Frank Museum - Better Go and Visit it at the End of the Day ...


And this is the Amsterdam Cheese Museum - at the Prinsengracht 112


Usually there is a table on the black pole on the left in the shape of a large cheese.

To the left, on number 114, is café De Twee Zwaantjes (the two swans). After visiting the cheese museum, you might want to go there for a nice beer or something else.

Where Does the Name 'Jordaan' Come From?

In the early years of the seventeenth century the Jordaan was built for the working class and emigrants, many from France, but also from Germany, Spain and Portugal.

As the names of the streets are mostly flower or plant names, it is suggested that the French called the area 'Jardin', meaning garden, and later this would have become Jordaan. Others think that it is called after the Jordan River in the Holy Land, whereas the historian J.Z. Kannegieter proposes that the name comes from the river Jordanne in the French Auvergne. This was a smelly river and the French compared it with the, in those days, also very polluted Prinsengracht canal.

What do you think is the correct explanation for the name of this district?

See results

Open Ateliers (Open Studio's)

In 2012, during the weekend of Ascention Day, on May 18, 19 and 20, the biennial route "Open Ateliers Jordaan" (open studio's Jordaan) took place for the thirteenth time. Seventy-four artists opened the doors to their studio's.

Every time many people from all over the country come to visit these studio's.

Coach Tours Through Amsterdam

Would you fancy a tour by coach through the Jordaan district? That is possible with Karos Citytours! You can choose to take one of five set tours. They all start at Dam Square.

One of the coaches at the corner of the Prinsengracht and Bloemgracht

One of the tours takes you through the Jordaan district, where you can choose between tours of 20, 30 or 45 minutes. The longer, the more expensive, of course, viz. 35, 45 and 65 euro.

There is also a coachtaxi, that collects you from anywhere within the centre of Amsterdam and takes you anywhere you want, also within the centre of Amsterdam. The cost is 70 euro for the first 20 minutes, thereafter 35 euro per 20 minutes. If your destination or place of collection is outside of the centre, then there is a minimum fee of two hours.

 Iceskating on Prinsengracht; Februari 2012
Iceskating on Prinsengracht; Februari 2012 | Source

Plan a Trip in the Winter?

Amsterdam can be beautiful in winter, too!

When there is a long frost, which does not occur every year, the canals freeze over and people go iceskating. This is a popular sport among the Dutch. I, myself, learnt to iceskate on the ice of a canal when I was a child. The winter of 2011-12 was such a frosty one. On the photo you see people skating on the frozen Prinsengracht in Februari 2012. In the distance is the tower of the Westerkerk (Westernchurch).

Winter is not a bad time to visit Amsterdam, especially when the sun shines and there is a (light) frost. However, often enough the temperatures are just above freezing and it is cloudy with rain or sleety snow.

A Wintry Picture in December 2010 - Prinsengracht, on the Bridge over the Egelantiersgracht

In this year there was no ice, but we had a lot of snow.
In this year there was no ice, but we had a lot of snow. | Source

King's Day in the Jordaan

Every year, on April 27, the Dutch celebrate the king's birthday. In this video you'll see an impression of these famous celebrations in the Jordaan in 2014.

Looking for a Place to Stay? - There are Various Hotels in the Jordaan

Some information on the hotels can also be found in the Jordaaninfo website.

A word of warning!

During the last few years, after I wrote this article, the number of tourists to Amsterdam has increased dramatically. So, unless you enjoy walking amidst hordes of people, waiting for hours in queues before visiting museums and see (or hear!) annoyed locals, I'd advise you to think twice before visiting Amsterdam.

Have You Ever Been in the Jordaan District ... - ... or Would You Like to go There?

Would you want to visit the Jordaan?


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