Amsterdam Centrum

the city centre of Amsterdam

The neighborhoods of De Wallen (Red Light District), Nieuwmarkt, Grachtengordel (Canal Belt) and Jordaan are the historical centre of Amsterdam.

The Centrum district with 86,851 inhabitants (2018) is divided into smaller neighbourhoods, all with their own characteristics and history. Find below a more detailed explanation of these neighborhoods, as well as other neighborhoods of note.

districts map

Dam Square

The Dam was built around 1270 between two dikes in order to prevent floodings. Now it is the central square between Rokin and Damrak. The Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, National Monument, and Madame Tussauds are its main attractions. From the Dam Square Amsterdam's most commercial street (Kalverstraat) begins.


The Spui quarter is the heart of the old city and is an excellent starting point from which to discover the rest of the city. Here you can find chic restaurants next to authentic old brown cafés and trendy fashion outlets next to second hand clothing shops. Visit the Flower Market, Begijnhof or Amsterdam Museum.


The Nieuwmarkt is dominated by a building known as De Waag, originally a gate in the Medieval city walls but converted into a weighing house after the walls were demolished in the 17th century. The square is located in Amsterdam's Chinatown, next to the De Wallen (Red Light District). There are many cafés and coffeeshops facing the square.


Grachtengordel / Canal Belt

A series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten"), dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built.

The Canal Belt area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most charming places to stay for tourists.


Tightly packed streets and canals lies west of the Center, beyond the major canals. Once a neighborhood for the working class and emigrants, nowadays almost completely renovated and very popular among artists, students, professionals, young entrepreneurs, and tourists. It has a growing number of upscale boutiques and restaurants. No other Dutch neighborhood is sung about as much as De Jordaan.

De Plantage

In the 17th century 'The Plantage' (plantation) was a green area outside the city walls where Amsterdammers spent their free time. From 1848 onwards it became one of the most prominent areas of Amsterdam. The Jewish Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue tell about the rich and sad history of this area. Exotic plants can be seen in the Hortis Botanicus (botanical garden) and you can visit wildlife in Artis Zoo.

Leidseplein   nightlife district

Amsterdam's most popular nightlife centre. In addition to performance venues, movie theaters, bars, and cafes, there are plenty of good hotels and restaurants at this frenetically busy square and its immediate surroundings.

Rembrandtplein   nightlife district

Until Rembrandt's statue was unveiled in 1876 this square was called Botermarkt (Butter market). For over a century it has been the centre of Amsterdam's nightlife. Here you can find famous hotels, cafés, discos and the renowned Tuschinski theatre. In summer, sitting in one of the many outdoor cafés, you can see the world pass by till way past midnight.


In and around this street with its many characteristic Amsterdam facades are more than 70 art and antique shops. A must-see quarter for those with an eye for the unique, rare and beautiful.

IJ Waterfront   Western & Eastern Docklands

Centered on Centraal Station and stretching east and west along both banks of the IJ, this fast-redeveloping area includes the artificial islands, warehouses, and other installations of Amsterdam's old harbour, now being replaced by new apartments and modern offices. Main attractions in this area are the Maritime Museum, The Amsterdam, NEMO, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ and Saint Nicholas Church.

Accommodation Best Choices

bed and breakfast

WestViolet   Jordaan

first class
Ambassade Hotel

Ambassade Hotel   Canal Belt

Lunch spots Tips

Restaurants Tips


Ambassade   Canal Belt


Pesca   Jordaan


grachtengordel grachtengordel cs jordaan 9straatjes dam leidseplein rembrandtplein nieuwmarkt ijwaterfront ijwaterfront jodenbuurt De Plantagebuurt