Home CITY TOUR Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam – Things to do

Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam – Things to do

Jordaan is an Amsterdam district bordered east and west by the Prinsengracht and Singelgracht. You should take advantage of this city area, which is just under one square kilometer in size, during your stay in the Dutch capital because there are many postcard motifs here. In addition to the picturesque canals, you will find numerous typical merchant houses in this popular part of town.

Other attractions that are known far beyond the city’s borders include the Anne Frank House, the Tulip Museum, the Houseboat Museum, and the Cheese Museum.

Description of the Jordaan Quarter

You have to love the Jordaan district. Every vacationer who comes here for the first time is thrilled because that’s precisely how you imagine Amsterdam. Picturesque canals with houseboats, richly decorated houses, and lovely cafes can be found on every corner. By the way, you won’t find any large hotel complexes in this district. Instead, you can stay in cozy small apartments and bed & breakfast hotels.

An overnight stay on a houseboat (see end of text) is an exceptional experience that will remain in your memory for a long time. Interestingly, there are also numerous small stores where you can buy one or the other souvenir. Also, you should take advantage of the small boutiques, which offer unusual and affordable fashion.

History of the Jordaan Quarter

History of the Jordaan Quarter

Where the neighborhood got its name is not yet 100 percent clear. While some researchers claim that the name is derived from the river of the same name in Israel and Palestine, others believe that the French word for garden, Jardin, gave the neighborhood its name. After all, quite a few streets in the area still bear flower names today, such as Lindenstrasse or Blumengracht.

Before the Second World War, Jordaan was a typical working-class neighborhood with the usual riots and workers’ uprisings. Founded in the 17th century, only workers lived in this neighborhood for a long time. When the canal belt was built, the workers were relegated to the western part of the city. In 1900, for example, the relatively small Jordaan neighborhood was home to about 80,000 workers living in the most miserable conditions.

After the Second World War, the neighborhood was long considered for demolition because it was disreputable as a social hotspot. Instead, the Jordaan district was renovated entirely and gradually became one of the most popular residential areas in the Dutch capital. By the end of the 20th century, however, it was absolutely in to live in the Jordaan neighborhood, which caused rents to skyrocket dramatically.

What should you see?

What should you see?

As mentioned above, in the Jordaan district, you will find the Anne Frank House, which is not only one of the most famous attractions of the city but also many other highlights. The movies, for example, is the oldest cinema in the city, which you should visit. A cheese tasting in the Kaashuis should also be on your vacation plan because cheese belongs to the Dutch capital, just like the canals.

The diaries of Anne Frank are known all over the world. The house where Anne Frank lived during the Second World War is now a fascinating museum for all interested in history. You can see original pieces of furniture from that time and several documents in the Anne Frank House. There are about 70 museums in the Dutch capital, making it the city with the highest density of museums worldwide. Besides the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are highly recommended.

✅ Tip: Participate in a tour of the Jordaan district

The neighborhood is also characterized by countless cafes and hip bars where you can turn night into day. If you are looking for one of the typical Amsterdam postcard motifs, you will quickly find it: Dutch bicycles in all imaginable variations determine the neighborhood’s image. The heart of the district, the Noorderkerk, built in Protestant style, is also worth a visit. Every Saturday, the Noordermarkt occurs before the church, known for its good organic products.

Backyards – The Hofjes

Backyards - The Hofjes

Those who do not know will pass them carelessly: We are talking about the small and green backyards, also known as hofjes. The residents lovingly tend to these cozily furnished courtyards, which are lushly planted and a unique green oasis. Numerous benches invite you to linger in the yards; tourists are welcome here!

✅ Tip: A little ramble through the most beautiful Hofjes. In the northern part of the Jordaan, you will find the two Bossches Hofje, Palmgracht 20, and Raepenhofje, Palmgracht 28. On the way towards the Anne Frank House, you will find the Karthuizerhof, worth seeing, at Karthuizerstraat 87.

A few meters further then follow the Regenboogs-Lifdehofje, Tuinstraat 100, and not far away with the Sint Andrieshofje, Egelantiersgracht 107, the oldest Hofje in the Jordaan, dating from the 17th century.

Where can you go for a stroll?

You should also visit the city’s two most famous shopping streets, Haarlemmerdijk and Haarlemmerstraat. These are great strolling streets with cute little stores where you can buy everything imaginable. One of the city’s main shopping areas is the so-called 9 Streets. This is a colorful mixture of individual stores. In this shopping street, you can buy everything your heart desires, from candles and incense sticks to Spanish ceramics, art objects, seductive lingerie, and leather goods.

You’ll find a particular store at Herengracht 389, where you’ll find an almost inexhaustible selection of buttons. At Elandsgracht 109, on the other hand, the antique center invites you to extensive explorations. The covered market, with over 80 stalls, is known for antique toys. But you can also buy gold and silver here. If you venture off the main streets, you’ll discover countless small stores with junk on numerous side roads. If you are into vintage items and antiques, the Jordaan district is the place to be.

✅ Tip: Delicious food can be found by taking a food tour of the Jordaan neighborhood.

Quarter of photo motifs

Quarter of photo motifs

But which photo motifs should you not miss in the Jordaan district? Amateur photographers can’t help but be amazed because you’ll find pretty motifs around every corner. The countless canals with their houseboats you will undoubtedly take more often in front of the lens. The same applies to the richly decorated canal houses. However, you will not be able to discover a fixed architectural style in this quarter. Instead, it is the different styles and facades that make the charm.

The Norderkeerk is a photo motif that could also adorn a typical postcard. Searching for motifs at dusk or, even better, at the so-called blue hour is best. Then everything is beautifully illuminated, and the photos are a unique souvenir.

Walking and cycling

Walking and cycling

As mentioned, the best way to explore the Jordaan district is on foot. You can also get around by bike, but you have to be prepared for numerous other cyclists. You can safely leave your car at home. On the one hand, you will need to find a parking space in the neighborhood. On the other hand, the distances between the individual attractions are so short that the trip by car would hardly be worth it.

A good starting point for a walk through the Jordaan district is the Elandsgracht. From here, you will automatically reach the three most famous canals of the city: the Keizersgracht, the Herengracht, and the Singelgracht. If you then cross the Rozengracht, it is near the most famous church of this district, the Norderkeerk. Bloemgracht is particularly romantic and excellent for snapshots of all kinds. Especially in spring and summer, when the bridges are lushly planted with geraniums, you can’t help but be amazed.

The best way to get around here is by bike. Here are a few organized bike tours, including the Jordaan neighborhood (sometimes only in English). Otherwise, rent a cheap bike here for a day and explore this idyllic district alone.

Bike tourPrice*Ticket
Bike tour - 3 hours34,50 €Book Online
Bike tour with a guide35,00 €Book Online
Backyards and hidden treasures37,50 €Book Online
Amsterdam bike rental
5 days / 1 coffee
52,50 €Book Online
Architecture Bike Tour45,00 €Book Online

*All prices are subject to change. The current offer of the supplier is always valid.

All important details about the respective offers are also on the provider page. When booking, also pay attention to the separate language in which the tour is conducted.

If you want to explore Amsterdam by bike, you will also find a rental station here.

Food and drink

Food and drink

The Jordaan district offers a wide range of restaurants and cafés. For example, if you are at the Noorderkerk, you should visit Café Winkel, Noordermarkt 43, which is open all day. The apple pie is almost legendary, and people sometimes support it. On the other hand, traditional Dutch cuisine can be found at Moeders, Rozengracht 251.

The unique feature: Moeders translates as mothers: every guest is asked to bring a picture of their mother. Accordingly, many photos can be admired on the walls. The food, however, is delicious; if you’re looking for hearty dishes at fair prices, this is the place for you. Open daily from 17:00, Saturday and Sunday already from noon.

If you haven’t booked a hotel with breakfast, that doesn’t matter. For example, you can have an excellent breakfast at Finch on Noordermarkt. Whether cereal, sandwich, or croissant: No wishes remain unfulfilled here. In the evening, the Finch is transformed and highly recommended. The so-called Bruine cafés, the traditional coffee houses of the city, should also not go unmentioned. Directly on the 9 Straatjes, overlooking the Prinsengracht and house number 341, is the Koffiehuis De Hoek. Open daily from 8:00 to 20:00, weekdays only until 17:00.A typical Amsterdam bruine Café.

✅ Tip: If you want to know more about eateries and delicatessens in the Jordann neighborhood, you can also join the self-guided Jordaan Foot Tour, which includes delicious tastings.

But which dishes are typically Dutch? In addition to the desserts, waffles, and poffertjes, you should try the Bitterballen. Admittedly, the deep-fried meatballs are relatively low in calories but incredibly tasty. Traditionally, the small snacks you can get at any kiosk are served with mustard. One of the national dishes is raw herring, which you can buy at one of the many fish stands in the city. Served with pickles and onions may differ from everyone’s taste, but it is still worth trying. The large number of Indonesian restaurants in the town is also striking; after all, Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands for a long time.

There are a few excellent hotels for an overnight stay in the Jordaan district besides some vacation apartments. My tip, Mr. Jordaan, comes from my list of the top 10 hotels for Amsterdam-otherwise, Linden Hotel, Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel, or the Hotel Il Fiore.

What else can you experience?

The nightlife in Amsterdam should be mentioned. Life in the Dutch capital gets going at night as befits a metropolis. The best way to get to know the numerous bars and pubs is during a pub crawl, which you can book online before your trip. You’ll quickly start a conversation with the locals during such a tour. Most pubs and bars in the Jordaan district are located along Utrechtsestraat.

Bars are open during the week, at least until 01:00 at night. Better choose a weekday to visit, because, on Fridays and Saturdays, the bars are usually too crowded. Sometimes, it’s also on Thursday, depending on if it’s student night.

In addition to the nearly 20 bars in the Jordaan district, you can visit various comedy clubs, such as the Boom Chicago in Rozengracht 117, or even a gay club. As long as you are dressed decently, you won’t have any problems getting in because strict bouncers are rare.

My overall impression of the Jordaan Quarter

My overall impression of the Jordaan Quarter

Whether you are a globetrotter, an epicure, or an explorer, there is a lot to discover in the Jordaan quarter, which is undoubtedly the most beautiful district of the Dutch capital. Relaxed people, the well-known backyards, and the picturesque canals with their houseboats: Photo motifs abound in this neighborhood. You will see that the Dutch capital has much more to offer than canal tours.

Nevertheless, you should also undertake such a tour, of course, because this way of exploring the city is simply a must. By the way, canal trips with smaller boats start directly in front of the Anne Frank House so that you can combine two sights simultaneously.

Is the neighborhood worth visiting?

Typically Dutch, hip, and simultaneously quaint, the Jordaan neighborhood has many faces and is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of the Dutch capital. The unique thing: This neighborhood is centrally located and close to the central station, yet you will feel like you have been transported to another time.

Away from the tourist hustle and bustle, you will get to know and certainly love the authentic Holland. If you are still deciding which district you want to stay in, Amsterdam, choose the Jordaan district, and you will not regret it!

Ways to the Jordaan Quarter

Located between the Brouwersgracht in the north and the Leidsegracht in the south, the Jordaan district is just a 15-minute walk from the train station. You follow the most famous canals of Amsterdam’s canal belt.

Of course, you can also easily reach the district by streetcar; from the central station, you choose line 13. If you get off at the stop Marnixstraat / Rozengracht, you are already directly in the Jordaan quarter. The equally popular Grachtengordel neighborhood borders directly on the district; both neighborhoods are separated only by the Prinsengracht canal.

Parking in the Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam

Traveling to the Jordaan district by car is not necessarily recommended because parking is simply a disaster. It is not for nothing that most locals travel by bike. The public transportation network is excellent, so a car is optional.


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