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Amsterdam Travel Guide

Jordaan and Leidseplein

The northern sectors of the Grachtengordel canal ring center around Amsterdam's beloved Jordaan (pronounced Yore-dahn). Although this cozy, scenic, and singular neighborhood's working-class roots have long sprouted branches of gentrification, it remains an area rich in picturesque canals and historic courtyards—a wanderer's paradise.

While this once-poor district has

had one of the city's most colorful histories, today the Jordaan (the name probably derives from the French for garden, jardin) has moved steadily upmarket. Its 1895 population of 80,000, which made it one of the densest in Europe, has declined to a mere 14,000, and the whole area has been greatly gentrified. But in many ways, the Jordaan will always remain the Jordaan, even though its narrow alleys and leafy canals are now lined with quirky specialty shops, excellent restaurants, galleries, and designer boutiques, especially along the streets of Tweede Anjeliersdwarstraat, Tuinstraat, and Egelanteirsstraat. Directly south of the Jordaan, marking the midpoint of the Grachtengordel, is the bustling Leidseplein, Amsterdam's vortex for the performing arts, with street performers, music venues, theaters, and jazz bars.

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