Damrak, Amsterdam


The first Amsterdam street you encounter when arriving from Central Station is Damrak, which runs from Prins Hendrik­kade to Dam square. On the east side of Damrak, the backs of the ware­houses on Warmoes­straat are directly on the water, without a quay. The west side of Damrak is filled with many touristy shops, hotels, (fast­food) restaurants and bars. Narrow alleys connect Damrak and the parallel Nieuwen­dijk on that side. Despite today’s often over­crowded and tacky appearance, this part of Amsterdam has great historic value and has seen many changes over time.

Looking south from Stationsplein, Amsterdam, towards Nieuwe Brug, Beurs van Berlage and Damrak

Looking south from Stations­plein towards Nieuwe Brug, Beurs van Berlage and Damrak (August 2023).

Tour boats in the water of Damrak, Amsterdam, seen from Oudebrugsteeg towards Central Station

The wet part of Damrak seen from Oude­brug­steeg towards Central Station, tour boats in the water (July 2022).

Short History of Damrak

A rak was a straight stretch of canal, Damrak literally means “Dam’s straight water”. The whole of Damrak up to Dam square was a lively harbor until 1845, being a part of the Amstel river, running along Rokin and the lock near Dam square, right up to the open water of the IJ. Where the Central Station is now, there was once a long row of poles in the water, where the big ships moored. The open connection to the IJ existed until the artificial islands (on which the Central Station is located) were created between 1872 and 1877. Amsterdam’s Central Station opened in 1889.

Amsterdam in 1544, detail of a painting by Jan Micker, Damrak in the center

Amsterdam in 1544, detail of a painting by Jan Micker, Damrak in the center. South is on top (Amsterdam Museum).

Before parts of the Damrak were filled in (between Dam and Oude­brug­steeg) in 1845 and 1883, the west side of Damrak was called Op ‘t Water (On the Water). The part of Damrak on the east side which is now Beurs­plein (filled in in 1883), has Berlage’s Exchange (from 1903), the Stock Exchange (from 1913) and (at the corner of Dam square) De Bijenkorf (The Beehive, from 1915). From 1845 until 1903 Zocher’s Exchange stood where that department store is now. Over time the original estuary of the Amstel river, once 100 m (328 ft) wide, was reduced to a measly 35 m (115 ft).

Damrak, Amsterdam, between 1867 and 1873, looking north from Papenbrug

Damrak between 1867 and 1873, looking north from Papen­brug, a former bridge south of the current Beurs­plein. On the right the back of the houses on Warmoes­straat, to the north still an open connection to the IJ (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Filling in Damrak

  • In 1845 the first part of the Damrak was filled in to create Zocher’s Exchange, built half on top of the covered Amstel river. It opened in 1845 and was demolished in 1903. Today department store Bijenkorf is located there.
  • In 1873-1875 the Damrak quay on the west side was doubled in width to 24 m (79 ft).
  • Also in 1875 the part of Damrak from Zocher’s Exchange to Papen­brug­steeg was filled in. Around this time the name was changed from Op ‘t Water to Damrak.
  • In 1883 Damrak was filled in from Dam square up to Oude­brug­steeg, for the build of Berlage’s Exchange in 1898. Until that time it was transformed into a small public garden.
  • Plans after 1883 to fill in the last watery part of Damrak were never executed.
View from Oudebrugsteeg on the east side of Damrak, Amsterdam, backs of Warmoesstraat houses in the water

View from Oude­brug­steeg on the east side of Damrak, the backs of the Warmoes­straat houses in the water (December 2022).

Bridges across Damrak

When large parts of Damrak were filled in, two former bridges were demolished: the Papenbrug (Papist Bridge) and the Oude Brug (Old Bridge). Only the names of two alleys (Papen­brug­steeg and Oude­brug­steeg) show where they once stood. The current Nieuwe Brug (New Bridge), where the Prins Hendrik­kade crosses the Damrak, is hardly recognizable as a bridge these days, but it still has a lock below it. This once wooden bridge (from before 1365), once the entrance to the Damrak harbor, got brick arches on each end around 1529. After 1600 the bridge lost its military function. In 1681 it became a part of Amsterdam’s new water management system, designed by mayor Johannes Hudde, by then all brick and with two locks on either side, which finally ended the tides which had plagued the Damrak before.

View of Damrak with Papenbrug and Papenbrugsteeg, Amsterdam, between 1868 and 1875

View of Damrak with Papen­brug and Papen­brug­steeg, between 1868 and 1875 (A.Th. Rooswinkel, Rijks­museum).

Buildings on Damrak

Most of the time it has become quite difficult to take in the remaining historic buildings on Damrak, partly because of the constant over­crowding with tourists and partly because of the many inappro­priate shops and signs, all catering to the lowest common denominator. Let’s start on the west side, walking from Prins Hendrik­kade to Dam, then make our way back on the east side from Dam square to the north. The early morning hours are the best time if you want to look at the buildings without too much hustle and bustle.

Damrak 1-5 – Victoria Hotel

The Victoria Hotel from 1890, Damrak 1-5 and Prins Hendrik­kade 38 and 47A, was built between 1883 and 1890, designed by J.F. Henkenhaf, who was also director of the hotel. Henkenhaf also designed the Kurhaus Hotel in Scheveningen, which opened in 1885. At the side of Prins Hendrik­kade the hotel has encapsulated two small houses — the owners held out too long from selling their property, hoping to make more money from selling as time went by.

Damrak, Amsterdam, viewed from Stationsplein with Victoria Hotel on the corner

Damrak viewed from Stations­plein, Victoria Hotel on the corner, on the right the Prins Hendrik­kade (August 2023).

Damrak 6

House from the early 18th century, remodeled in 1939 and restored in 1967, with richly decorated top.

Damrak 8

House from around 1730 with richly decorated top gable and Roman bust, restored in 1966. Now a budget hotel with a McDonald’s on the ground floor.

Damrak 8, 7 and 6 and a slice of the Victoria Hotel, Amsterdam

Left to right: Damrak 8, 7 and 6 and a slice of the Victoria Hotel (August 2023).


Between Damrak 14 and 15 is the Haring­pakkers­steeg (Herring Packers Alley) — the herring packers salted herring and packed it in barrels. They were active here in the 16th and 17th century, mostly along Prins Hendrik­kade. Until 1913 this alley was called Kapel­steeg.

Damrak 30 to 11, Amsterdam, with entrance to Haringpakkerssteeg

From left to right Damrak 30 to 11. The Haring­pakkers­steeg is to the right of Macau (August 2023).

Damrak 15

These days Damrak 15 is Amusement Palace Macau. It was built in 1905 by architect J.A. van Straaten, who also designed department store De Bijen­korf. This was once soap factory De Vergulde Hand (The Gilded Hand), already here in the 16th century, the last one of three soap manufacturers on Damrak. They were bought by AKZO in 1966, soap production in Amsterdam ended in 1971. The stone above the doorway on the left shows the name and the year 1554-1905, now the only reminder of the soap history of the building.

View south along Damrak, Amsterdam, from Haringpakkerssteeg towards Dam square

View south along Damrak, from Haring­pakkers­steeg (Damrak 15) towards Dam square (August 2023).

Damrak 19

Shop in Art Nouveau style from 1900 by architect P. van der Vliet. Now it has the Pizza Pasta Bar on the ground floor.

Damrak 20-22

This Art Nouveau shop and warehouse from 1901, designed by architect R. Kuipers, was renovated in 1934 by architect A.U. Ingwersen together with the neigh­boring house. It origi­nally housed organ and piano store Breebaart, moved to number 19 in 1905. The store then housed Meyjes & Höweler, who sold mostly safes, stoves and cookers and were here until around 1980. Now the ground floor has a souvenir shop called Amsterdam Experience.

Damrak 20-22, Amsterdam, Art Nouveau shop and warehouse from 1901

In the center Damrak 20-22, Art Nouveau shop and warehouse from 1901 (August 2023).

Damrak 25

The red brick house at Damrak 25 had been a fish and fruit shop here since 1868. In 1906 they had a new shop built by architect Willem Kromhout, with an oyster lunchroom on the first floor. The shop moved to Damrak 46 in 1931. The façade was changed several times, first in 1955. Since 1995 this has been candy store Jamin.

Damrak 25, Amsterdam, a red brick fish and fruit shop from 1906, now Jamin candy store

The red brick house next to the yellow Utrecht warehouse was a fish and fruit shop from 1906 (August 2023).

Damrak 26-27 – Utrecht Warehouse

This shop and warehouse from 1905 belongs to the building De Utrecht on the other side of the Karne­melk­steeg. The front is covered in Italian granite. Now Tours & Tickets.

View south along the east side of Damrak from number 22 towards Dam square

View south along the east side of Damrak from number 22 towards Dam square (August 2023).


Between numbers 26-27 and 28 is the Karne­melks­steeg (Butter­milk Alley) from 1476. It was named after the barges carrying butter­milk which once moored here.

Karnemelksteeg (Buttermilk Alley), Amsterdam, between the two Utrecht buildings on Damrak

Karnemelksteeg (Buttermilk Alley) between the two Utrecht buildings on Damrak (August 2023).

Damrak 28-30 – De Utrecht Insurance Company

Building with shop and offices from 1906, designed by architects J.F. Staal and A.J. Kropholler. The front is covered in green Swedish marble, the roof partly covered in copper. The sculptures were made by sculptor Joseph Mendes da Costa (1863-1939), who was tasked by the life insurance company to adorn both the exterior and the interior of their building at Damrak 28-30. The five large figures on the first floor symbolize Protection, Thrift, Wisdom, Volatility and Vigilance. Above the main entrance a kneeling widow in front of a wheel of fortune, symbolizing the unpredictability of fate.

Sculptures on the first floor of Damrak 28-30, Amsterdam, Karnemelkssteeg on the right

Sculptures on the first floor of Damrak 28-30, Karne­melks­steeg on the right (August 2023).

Higher up the façade you can see mandrills, howler monkeys, owls and chameleons. Mendes da Costa was known for his animal sculptures — he spent many days in Artis Zoo to study their appearance. Insurance company De Utrecht moved in to the building around 1935 (the shop arcade at Raad­huis­straat was also financed by them). The building was restored in 2014.

Top of the façade of Damrak 28-30, Amsterdam, formerly De Utrecht Insurance Company

Top of the façade of Damrak 28-30, formerly De Utrecht Insurance Company (August 2023).

Animal sculptures by Joseph Mendes da Costa on the façade of Damrak 28-30, Amsterdam

Animal sculptures by Joseph Mendes da Costa on the façade of Damrak 28-30 (August 2023).

Damrak 34 – Den Gulden Salm

Centuries ago the houses on the uneven side of Nieuwen­dijk continued all the way to the water of Damrak. Later they were split and the back side of this block became Damrak 34. This building from around 1564 has a gable from the late 19th century, but behind that is a much older building, with a 17th century rear and a 16th century wooden frame construction. High up on the gable is a stone with a salmon, which gave the building the name Gulden Salm (Golden Salmon), probably from a fishmonger in the 16th century. These days it’s Hotel van Gelder, City Sightseeing on the ground floor.

Damrak 35-36, Amsterdam, next to it Damrak 34, building Den Gulden Salm (The Golden Salmon)

Left the narrow houses of Damrak 35-36 (Short Stay and Bravi Ragazzi), next to it Damrak 34 (Gulden Salm) (August 2023).

Damrak 35-36

Two small shop buildings from the first half of the 17th century, with a 19th century roof. A garland with roses adorns the top of number 35. The two former narrow alleys on either side of Damrak 35 have been closed off. Topless bar Teasers was located here before, closed by the city in 2006. The ground floor now houses restaurant and bar Bravi Ragazzi (Good Guys in Italian). Damrak 35-36 all the way to Nieuwen­dijk 123-125 is now a short stay hotel with 7 apartments.

Damrak 37-38

Art Noveau office from 1904 on the corner of the Oude­brug­steeg, designed by J.W.F. Hartkamp. Originally a securities trader with a beer cellar below it, with a photographer’s workhop in the attic. Yet another cheese shop today.

Damrak 37-38, Amsterdam, Art Nouveau office from 1904 on the corner of Oudebrugsteeg

To the right of the Oude­brug­steeg is an Art Nouveau office from 1904. Next to it Damrak 35-36 (August 2023).


The Oudebrugsteeg (Old Bridge Alley) between Damrak 39 and 40 was named after the oldest bridge (from the early 14th century) across the Damrak, before this part was filled in (1883). The alley continues on the other side of Damrak.

Damrak 45

An existing house at the corner of the Manden­makers­steeg was remodeled in 1904 and 1905, designed by architect Kröner. The upper floors were rented as offices. Until 1919 this was a fish and deli shop. Now it’s Restaurant At James, Argentinian Grill.

Damrak 47 to 42, Amsterdam. Between the numbers 45 and 46 the Mandenmakerssteeg

From left to right: Damrak 47 to 42. Between the numbers 45 and 46 is the Manden­makers­steeg (August 2023).


Between Damrak 45 (Restaurant At James) and Damrak 46 (Amsterdam Today) is the Manden­makers­steeg (Basket Weavers Alley), named after the basket makers who lived here. They sold their wares on the basket market held on Damrak until 1634.

Damrak 47-48

Building from 1899 in Art Nouveau style by architect H.G. Jansen, with a bay window, balcony and loggia. From 1902 to 1905 there was an insurance company here for employers. The upper floors are now Hotel Manofa, together with number 46. Amsterdam Today is on the ground floor of Damrak 46. Steakhouse De Markies is on the ground floor of Damrak 48. Above the third floor window a gable stone with the Four Sons of Duke Aymon on their magical horse Bayard, pointing to a house called De Vier Heems­kinderen which stood here before, where cartographer Johannes Jansonius lived in the 17th century. Back then his neighbor at number 46 was the famous cartographer Willem Blaeu (1571-1638), of Atlas Maior fame.

Art Nouveau style building from 1899 at Damrak 47-48, Amsterdam

In the center Art Nouveau style building from 1899 at Damrak 47-48 (August 2023).

Damrak 57

Although not very appealing on the outside, research showed that the wooden interior frame of this house dates from 1530-1540, the outside was remodeled around 1725-1750. The interior construction makes it one of the oldest remaining houses in town, even older than the wooden house ‘t Aepjen (The Monkey) at Zeedijk 1.

Damrak, Amsterdam, between numbers 61 and 57, between numbers 59 and 60 Onze Lieve Vrouwesteeg

Far right the house from 1530 at Damrak 57. Between numbers 59 and 60 the Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg (August 2023).

Damrak 59

Shop and home from 1632 on the right hand corner of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg, remodeled in the second half of the 19th century, restored in 2014. Since 2019 it has clothing retailer Wituka on the ground floor. On the side wall on Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg is a restored mural advert for Ferwerda & Tieman wine merchants (founded in 1891), who had a depot here.

Onze Lieve Vrouwesteeg

Between numbers 59 and 60 is the Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg (Our Lady Alley), named after a chapel which stood on Nieuwen­dijk from around 1500 until 1578, across from the guest house and hospital Onze Lieve Vrouwe­gast­huis (founded around 1420, moved around 1580 to St. Pieters­gast­huis on Grim­burgwal).

Damrak 64 to 60, Amsterdam, with Onze Lieve Vrouwesteeg, seen from the corner of Beursplein

Damrak 63-64 (Cineac  II), Damrak 62 (former bookstore Allert de Lange), Damrak 61 (Drake’s), Damrak 60 (house with turret) and the Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg, viewed from the corner of Beurs­plein with Beurs van Berlage statue (October 2021).

Damrak 60 – House with Turret

On the left hand corner of Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg a shop and home from 1889 with a turret, designed by architect W. Langhout, originally created for a café and restaurant. Now there’s a Souvenirs & Gifts on the ground floor.

Damrak 64 to 59, Amsterdam, between numbers 60 and 59 the Onze Lieve Vrouwesteeg

Damrak 64 to 59, between 60 and 59 the Onze Lieve Vrouwe­steeg (August 2023).

Damrak 62 – Former Bookstore Allert de Lange

This Neo-Renaissance building from 1886 housed publisher and book­store Allert de Lange (founded in 1880), until they bankrupted in 1999. It was designed by architect J. van Looy, changed in 1985 to have the entrance in the center. The sculptures on the façade are by Johannes Franse. Left and right of the entrance are the busts of Rembrandt and Rubens. Above the first floor windows it still says “Librairie, Buch­handlung, Book­seller”. At the top the construction year and an owl, symbol of wisdom. Now it’s the Old Amsterdam Cheese Store, one of way too many tourist cheese shops.

Damrak 62, former bookstore Allert de Lange, and house with turret at Damrak 60, Amsterdam

On the left Damrak 62 (former bookstore Allert de Lange), on the right Damrak 60 (house with turret) (August 2023).

Damrak 63-64 – Cineac II

Building from 1938 by architect H. Vreeswijk, originally a cinema called Cineac II, closed in 1983. Now it’s a slotmachine arcade called Casino.

Damrak 63-64, Amsterdam,former Cineac II. On the right Damrak 62, former bookstore Allert de Lange

In the center Damrak 63-64, former Cineac II. On the right Damrak 62, former bookstore Allert de Lange (August 2023).


At number 68 is the Beurs­passage (Exchange Passage), finished after a big renovation in 2016, containing the artwork Amsterdam Oersoep (Amsterdam Primordial Soup) by artists Arno Coenen, Iris Roskam and Hans van Bentem. The Beurs­passage was already discussed in an earlier blog post.

Entrance to the new Beurspassage from 2016 at Damrak 68, Amsterdam

Entrance to the new Beurs­passage from 2016 at Damrak 68, from Damrak to Nieuwen­dijk (August 2023).

Damrak 70-79 – Former C&A Clothing Store

In 1894 there was a large building complex here, designed by architect Berlage for insurance company De Algemeene, enlarged in 1903. After they bank­rupted in 1920, this became clothing store C&A (short for Clemens & August Brennink­meijer) in 1930, expanded in 1957. It burned down completely because of a short circuit in February 1963, the firefighters hindered by severe cold and ice in the Damrak water.

The old C&A building on Damrak, Amsterdam, in 1947, burned down in 1963

The old C&A building in 1947, burned down in 1963 (Arbeiders­pers, Stads­archief Amsterdam).

C&A first got a temporary wooden shop on pontons in the water next to the Beurs van Berlage, then opened a newly built store here on Damrak in 1968. In 2022 C&A relocated to Kalver­straat. In 2015-2016 the complex was renovated and now it houses clothing store Primark.

Damrak 70-79, Amsterdam, renovated in 2016, now clothing retailer Primark

Damrak 70-79, renovated in 2016, now clothing retailer Primark (August 2023).

Damrak 80-81

Bank building from 1904 in sober Art Nouveau style by architect Gerrit van Arkel, origi­nally built as an office for the Buiten­landsche Bank­vereeniging (Foreign Bank Association). The façade has Moorish elements and is decorated with flower motives. These days it’s a Starbucks.

Art Nouveau bank building at Damrak 80-81, Amsterdam

In the center Art Nouveau bank building at Damrak 80-81 by architect Gerrit van Arkel (August&nbp;2023).

Damrak 83

House from around 1800 in Louis XVI style, now it’s a Délifrance.


Between the numbers 84 and 85, the Zout­steeg (Salt Alley), named after the barges trans­porting salt which moored here in the 15th century.

Zoutsteeg, Amsterdam, between Damrak and Nieuwendijk

In the center, between Damrak 84 and 85, the Zout­steeg (Salt Alley), on the right Damrak 84 and 83 (August 2023).

Damrak 85

House from 1725 in Louis XIV style. Now a Tours & Tickets.

Damrak 89-90

Damrak 89 and 90 date from around 1728. Around 1890 this was a Merkelbach Toy Store. Now it’s an AH-to-Go super­market.

Damrak 92

The white building next to De Roode Leeuw was once Bodega Oporto, very popular with journalists and exchange traders, closed in 1963. This is where in 1964 the much despised “hamburger­isation” of Damrak started, when super­market chain Albert Heijn and the British firm Lyons opened a Wimpy ham­burger joint here. Now it’s a McDonald’s.

Terrace of Bodega Oporto at Damrak 92, Amsterdam, in 1963, just before they closed

Terrace of Bodega Oporto at Damrak 92 just before they closed in 1963 (Jack de Nijs, Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Damrak 93-94 – De Roode Leeuw

Building from 1911 by architect H. Kuipers, created for hotel and brasserie De Roode Leeuw (The Red Lion), founded around 1454 as a coffee house on Dam square (where the Industria building is now). In 1957 an extra floor was added.

Damrak 96 to 92, Amsterdam: Swissotel, Damraksteeg, De Roode Leeuw, McDonald's

Damrak 96 (Swissotel), Damrak­steeg, Damrak 93-94 (De Roode Leeuw), Damrak 92 (McDonald’s) (August 2023).


Damraksteeg (Damrak Alley), between numbers 94 and 95, was called Dubbele­worst­steeg (Double Sausage Alley) until 1922, after citizen Laurens Dubbel­worst and a sign he had here. He had also lived on an alley between Singel and Heren­gracht which bears the same name. This alley here had still other names in the 16th and 17th century.

View south from Damrak 91 towards Dam square, Amsterdam

View south from Damrak 91 towards Dam square (August 2023).

Damrak 95-96

Building and office from 1899, designed by H.P. Berlage for the Amster­damsch Wissel­kantoor, a money changer, daughter of the Amster­damsche Bank. In 1902 association ‘t Kogge­schip, predecessor of tourist board VVV and founded in 1902, was on the second floor. They moved to the Munt­toren in 1932. On the ground floor of Damrak 95 is money changer Pott Change. The building at number 96 was demolished in 1985. Damrak 96 has been Hotel Swissôtel since 1986, managed by a Swiss hotel chain.

Damrak 100 to 96, Amsterdam, with Damraksteeg on the right

Damrak 100 to 96, Damraksteeg on the right. Damrak 96 is on the left hand corner of the alley (August 2023).

Damrak 98

Building from 1908 by architects A.J. Kropholler and J.F. Staal, which replaced a 17th century merchant house. First a securities broker, later a bodega with a printer’s office on the top floors. Today it’s Italian restaurant Royal 98.

Damrak 99-100, Valkensteeg, Damrak 98 and Damrak 96, Amsterdam

Damrak 99-100 with Dior on the ground floor, Valken­steeg, Damrak 98 (Royal 98), Damrak 96 (Swissôtel) (August 2023).


The Valkensteeg (Falcon Alley), between Damrak 98 and Dam 2, was named after an inn from the 17th century called De Grauwe Valk (The Gray Falcon).

View along Valkensteeg, Amsterdam, from Damrak to Nieuwendijk

View along Valkensteeg, from Damrak to Nieuwendijk (August 2023).

Damrak 99-100, Dam 2

The bank building at the corner of Rokin and Dam, called De Bisschop (The Bishop, after a gable stone with Amsterdam patron saint St. Nicholas on the Dam side), has a troubled history.

Looking from Damrak to Dam square, Amsterdam, Damrak 100 on the right

Damrak 100 on the right, looking from Damrak to Dam square (August 2023).

In 1563 there was a building here called ’t Suyker­huis, after 1750 replaced by another building. From 1877 until 1922 this was café De Bisschop under various owners. In 1899 the café got a new ornate building, created on the old foundations by architect A.C. Boersma (in 1884 Boersma had also created the House with the Gnomes at Ceintuur­baan 251-255). Around 1921 it started to sag very badly and needed to be propped up. Despite the top floors being removed to diminish the weight, the café had to close in 1926. Until 1933 the derelict remains of that building continued to be a blemish on the face of Dam square.

Derelict Damrak 99-100-101, Amsterdam, in 1933 just before demolition

Derelict Damrak 99-100-101 in 1933 before demolition (Dienst Bouw- en Woning­toezicht, Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Owner H.P. de Goeijen in the meantime had bought two adjacent lots for a future expansion, Damrak 100 (a cigar shop owned by writer Justus van Maurik) and Damrak 99 (Seyffardt’s book­store). Heineken became the new owner and they then traded the lots in for terrains in the Pijp neigh­bor­hood. Distillery Levet & Co then commissioned a new building from architect Jan Gratama in 1933. It was stripped of all ornaments around 1990, although some elements were restored during a 2010 renovation. Various banks have been here since 1933, now it’s ABN AMRO bank with Dior on the ground floor.

Gable stone with hand and rooster on Damrak 100, Amsterdam, Valkensteeg to the right

Left the gable stone with hand and rooster from the Hancock family, to the right Valken­steeg and Damrak 98 (August 2023).

Damrak 100 has a gable stone with a hand grabbing a rooster, pointing to the British Hancock family who from 1719 until 1783 owned the building which previously stood here. Originally attached to the late 17th century gable, this stone was placed back on the current building from 1934. On the Dam side is a gable stone with St. Nicholas, Amsterdam’s patron saint. It depicts one of the legends surrounding him, where he revived three children who had been killed by an inn-keeper.

Damrak 99-100 on the side of Dam 2, Amsterdam, with gable stone of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas)

Damrak 99-100 on the side of Dam 2, with the gable stone of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) (August 2023).

Let’s cross the street to the east side of the Damrak, starting on the corner with Dam square.

Damrak, Amsterdam, seen from Dam square towards Central Station

Damrak seen from Dam square towards Central Station (August 2021).


De Bijenkorf department store was built here between 1911 and 1915, modeled after a wing of the Louvre in Paris. The store was founded in 1870 at Nieuwen­dijk 132. After a temporary building in 1912 on the spot where the Zocher Exchange had been, the new store opened here in 1915, designed by architects J. van Straaten and B. Lubbers. On the Damrak side is a shield with the monogram SPG, from Simon Philip Goudsmit, who had started the company on Nieuwendijk. His initials are also above the entrances on Dam square. The building has been a national monument since 2001.

Metal shield on the Damrak side of De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam, with beehive and monogram

Metal shield on the Damrak side of De Bijenkorf, with beehive and monogram (August 2023).


This alley, at the south end of Beurs­plein alongside De Bijen­korf, leads to the parallel Warmoes­straat. It was named after the Papenbrug (Papist Bridge), built before 1475 and demolished in 1884 when this part of the Damrak was filled in. According to a 16th century story the bridge got its name after some clergy­men had set the old derelict predecessor (Inrebrugge from 1365) on fire. North of the Papen­brug­steeg is the Euronext Stock Exchange, to the south of it the Bijenkorf car parking.

Beursplein, Amsterdam, looking south towards Bijenkorf, far left De Bijenkorf car parking

Beursplein looking south towards Bijenkorf, far left De Bijenkorf car parking (August 2023).


This square (Exchange Square), between Bijenkorf and Beurs van Berlage, was created after this part of the Damrak had been filled in (in 1883). Berlage also designed six lanterns and two fountains (originally drinking troughs for horses) for the square. In 2018 an underground bike parking for 1700 bicycles was built here and the square was renovated according to the 1903 design.

Beursplein 5 – Stock Exchange

The Effectenbeurs (Stock Exchange) moved here in 1912. They bought a whole block of houses here, including the fancy Bible Hotel from 1647, demolished in 1911. The current building was created between 1909 and 1911 by architect Jos Cuypers (his father Pierre had designed the Rijksmuseum and the Central Station). In  2000 the stock exchanges of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam merged to form Euronext, their main head­quarters here.

Stock Exchange (Euronext) at Beursplein 5, Amsterdam

Stock Exchange (Euronext) at Beursplein 5 (June 2020).

The bronze sculpture De Stier (The Bull) on the square, in front of the Stock Exchange, was created Arturo di Modica in 2012. It is a smaller version of the Charging Bull in New York. Placed here without an initial permit, it weights around 2,500 kg (394 stone). The sculpture, first moved to the side, was allowed to stay when the square was renovated in 2018.

Beurs van Berlage

The building of Berlage’s Exchange started in 1898 and it opened in 1903 on Beursplein. It replaced the old Zocher Exchange from 1848, which stood where now De Bijenkorf is. The building, called Koopmans­beurs (Merchants’ Exchange) from 1903 until 1998, housed four exchanges: commodity, shipping, grain and stock. The stock exchange moved to Beursplein 5 in 1912. Built right in the old river bed of the Amstel, Berlage’s Exchange already started to sag during the build and needed immediate repairs. Since 1985 the Exchange has become a Palazzo Pubblico (Public Hall). It was restored from 1998 to 2004.

Beurs van Berlage on Beursplein, Amsterdam

Beurs van Berlage on Beursplein (June 2020).


This alley, at the north side of the Beurs van Berlage, was named after the Oude Brug (Old Bridge) which crossed the Damrak water here at the start of the 14th century. When this part of Damrak was filled in (1883), the bridge was demolished. All that remains of it now is the quay along the Beurs building leading to Beursstraat and Warmoesstraat.

Oudebrugsteeg, Amsterdam, on the north side of the Beurs van Berlage

Oudebrugsteeg on the north side of the Beurs van Berlage (August 2023).

Wet Part of Damrak

The rest of Damrak up to Nieuwebrug is a quay with tour boats.

Damrak, Amsterdam, looking towards Oudebrugsteeg

Damrak looking towards Oudebrugsteeg (August 2023).

Red Carpet

In 2010 a tunnel was dug for the subway underneath Damrak. In 2012 the city designated Damrak, Rokin, Vijzelstraat and Vijzelgracht as its so-called Red Carpet (the entrance into town), after the construction of the metro, which lasted from 2003 until 2018. Efforts to lift the quality of this Red Carpet area have been an ongoing battle since then. Trivia: the small village of Durgerdam, in the Amsterdam Noord area on the other side of the IJ, also has a Damrak, beside their church.

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