Amsterdam Sights

Dam (Dam Square)

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Published 11/18/2015

Fodor's Review

Home to the Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) and the Nieuwe Kerk church, Dam Square (or just "Dam"), is Amsterdam's main square. It traces its roots to the 12th century and the dam built over the Amstel (hence the city's name). The waters of the Damrak (the continuation of the Amstel) once reached right up to the Dam, with ships and barges sailing to the weigh house. Folks came here to trade, talk, protest–-and be executed. In the 17th century, it was hemmed in by houses and packed with markets. Behind the Nieuwe Kerk is an atmospheric warren of alleys with a proeflokaal (liquor tasting house) called De Drie Fleschjes (the Three Small Bottles) on Gravenstraat dating to 1650. In the 19th century, the Damrak was filled in to form the street leading to Centraal Station, and King Louis, Napoléon's brother, demolished the weigh house in 1808 because it spoiled the view from his bedroom window in the Royal Palace. Today, the Dam is a bustling meeting point with street performers and fairs on high days and holidays.

Sight Information


Amsterdam, 1012AA, Netherlands

Published 11/18/2015


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