This touristy strip of hostels, bars, and coffee shops began life as one of the original dikes along the Amstel before evolving into today's busy shopping street. It's here that the famous 17th-century poet Vondel did business from his hosiery shop at No. 101, and where Mozart's dad tried to unload tickets for his son's concerts in the area's upscale bars. It entered a decline in the 17th century when the proprietors decamped for fancier digs on the Canal Ring; sailors (and the businesses that catered to them) started to fill in the gaps. In the 19th century, the street evolved, along with its extension Nes, into the city's primary debauchery zone. Karl Marx was known to set himself up regularly in a hotel here, not only to write in peace but to ask for the occasional loan from his cousin-in-law, Gerard Philips, founder of that capitalist machine Philips.
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