Walking in the Jordaan

Wandelen in de Jordaan

It is undoubtedly one, but perhaps the most beautiful neighborhood in Amsterdam: the Jordaan. The picturesque streets, beautiful canal houses and brown cafes make this old working-class neighborhood very cozy. But that's the Jordaan as we know it now, it wasn't exactly better here in the past. If you walk through it you can still see enough traces of how it used to be here.

When the Jordaan came about, after the expansion of Amsterdam in the early 17th century, it was a real working-class district. Extremely poor and because of the cheap housing, the Jordaan grew completely closed. Despite the fact that it was actually forbidden, new houses were constantly being built by slumlords to rent them out again. This created 'corridors' instead of streets that were sometimes no more than one meter wide, leaving many rooms without daylight.

The facing bricks

At that time, the houses did not yet have house numbers, but people indicated their house by describing their gable stone " I live on the Lindegracht where the Houtmolen is on the facade". You can still find a lot of facing bricks in the Jordaan. The mini artworks are nice, but the stories behind them are the most interesting. They often refer to the professions of the old inhabitants. For example, a horn often referred to a baker, because he blew a horn when the bread was ready. Pretzels could also point to bakers. Only at the end of the 19th century, when the Netherlands fell under the French rule of Napoleon, house numbers were introduced.

Hofjes van de Jordaan - Can I enter here?

Hofjes can actually be seen as the first form of social housing. Rich people of the nobility, merchants and other elite built housing for the poor. This was often from a philanthropic or social point of view, but self-interest often also played a role. With a high social status came expectations and charity was one of them. This increases the chance of getting a better place in the afterlife. The most beautiful courtyards in the Jordaan to walk along are the Karthuizershofje, the van Brienenhofje and the Zon's hofje. And yes, you can just enter here.

Folk singers

Everyone is piggybacking on the term 'pearls of the Jordaan', but there are only 5 who can really call themselves that: Johnny Jordaan, Tante Leen, Willy Alberty Manke Nelis and Johnny Meijer. These Jordanian folk singers created songs that are still sing-alongs today. If you like this as much as we do, go to the Jordaan festival and roar along. Of course, leave the long vowels at home, because where you would normally say Jordáán, for example, you now roar Jordààn.

So, walk with your gappies through the Jordaan, drink a jenever at the Ooievaar, order an ox sausage at Louman and enjoy the Jordaan as it is now. The luck!