The district of Jordaan is one of those special places where a simple stroll through the streets is an experience in itself. Home to artists and art galleries, shops, markets and restaurants, Jordaan is a fascinating place to explore from the best holiday apartments Amsterdam has to offer.
The Jordaan district was built in the first half of the 17th century to accommodate Amsterdam’s working class. An influx of immigrants caused the population to increase rapidly, the district soon becoming home to more families than it could realistically handle. The houses were small and the area soon became overcrowded; slums developed and the nearby canals were used as the overflow for the area’s sewage.
In the 1970s, plans were put in place to demolish large parts of the district. Protests by the local inhabitants soon followed and the demolition never took place. Instead, the historical area was subjected to low-impact restoration projects which would repair the neighbourhood without destroying its character.
Today, Jordaan is a fascinating place to visit from our holiday apartments. Amsterdam is a great city to explore on foot and Jordaan is no exception. For lovers of modern art in particular, the numerous studios and galleries in the district provide endless examples of contemporary Dutch work. A good time to visit is during one of the ‘open studio events’ held once every two years.
The ‘Jewels in the Jordaan’ ornamental route is a well-trodden path which leads through the charming alleyways of the district and takes in some of the area’s goldsmiths and silversmiths.
While walking through the area, keep an eye out for the stone tablets which adorn the fronts of many buildings. These tablets, some of which date from the 16th century, displayed the profession or family sign of the inhabitants within. A butcher, for example, would have a carved pig set in the stone while a tailor would have a pair of scissors.
Many of the smaller buildings are built around quaint inner courtyards (hofjes) which have been lovingly restored. While not all are open to the public, many residents are happy for you to take a quick look. For history-lovers visiting Jordaan from our apartments, Amsterdam museums provide another intriguing side to the district. These include the Pianola Museum, the Theo Thijssen literature museum, a houseboat museum and a fluorescent museum called Electric Lady Land. On the border of Jordaan, meanwhile, sits the Anne Frank House.
Jordann is easily reached by public transport from any of our apartments. Amsterdam trams and buses all stop in the district – just hop out and start strolling! For more information about Jordaan, visit www.jordaanweb.nl.
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