The Rozengracht (Roses Canal) is a former canal from the 17th century in Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood. In 1890 it was filled in (as one of 6 former canals in the Jordaan area) to counteract the poor water quality and to create a main traffic artery to the west. The street runs between Prinsengracht and Singelgracht, from where the De Clercqstraat leads further West. East of the Rozengracht the Raadhuisstraat was constructed in 1895 towards Dam square.
The Rozengracht is currently being restructured as part of the Orange Carpet project (Oranje Loper), started in 2019. After protests the city revised the original plans, where they first wanted to cut down all 33 trees on the street.
The Rozengracht was initially popular with somewhat richer citizens, who wanted to combine a home with a business, something not allowed on the main canals. After 1890, when the Rozengracht canal had been filled in and became a busy road, many beautiful 17th century houses were demolished and replaced with larger buildings, first with the reconstructions for the Bols complex (1900), followed by the Rozentheater (1912), Jesuit church De Zaaier (1928) and the parochial Roothaanhuis (1929).
Like in many other parts of the Jordaan, there were once many dark, narrow alleys (corridors) in this area, which gave access to slumlike constructions in the courtyards behind the main streets. Between numbers 37 and 49 was the Rozengang (Roses Alley), better known as Vossenhofje, with a stonecutter’s workshop. Numbers 39A-H and 49A-D are inside. Between the numbers 75 and 81 was the Slagersgang (Butchers Alley), formerly known as Maaiersgang (Mowers Alley).
Rozengracht 81 – Three Piggy Banks
This house from around 1620 has a gable stone with three piggy banks. Inside the house was an indoor alley, between the numbers 81 and 89, the Spaarpottengang (Piggy Bank Alley), which led to a courtyard with 3 small houses, rented out by the owner, his three piggy banks. Around 1920 the small houses had become sheds, later transformed into a theater which did horror shows (around 1970-1980).
Rozengracht 99-111 – Distillery ‘t Lootsje
Former liqueur distillery ‘t Lootsje (Lucas Bols) started here in 1649 (although the Bols company maintains it was 1575). The house at number 99 was redone in 1892 by architect H.P. Berlage, at Bols’ specific request in 17th century style. Around 1902 architect Eduard Cuypers then designed the adjacent buildings and from around 1912 Bols had a reception room here, decorated in 16th century style.
The distillery moved to Nieuw Vennep in 1970 and the block was sold to the city in 1972. It then became a sports venue, youth hostel and community center. In 1994 the whole block was restructured to become studios and shops. Bols opened a tasting room on Paulus Potterstraat in 2007 and in 2014 their jenever production returned to Amsterdam on Pijlsteeg, between Dam square and Oudezijds Voorburgwal, in the old jenever distillery Wynand Fockink from 1679, which Bols owned since 1954.
Rozengracht 107-115 – Dijkman Music Store
Dijkman Muziekinstrumenten is a well-known music store, located here since 1960, next to the Rozen Theater. The store was founded in 1958 by Willem Dijkman.
Rozengracht 117 – Rozentheater
The Rozentheater is a former cinema and theater from 1913. It changed names quite a few times (Asta, Capitol, Mickery) but in 1994 was renamed Rozentheater again. The building is a national monument, renovated in 2004. Since 2013 it is home to stand-up comedy venue Boom Chicago (previously at Leidseplein Theater).
Between the numbers 119 and 127 was the Donkeregang (Dark Alley).
Rozengracht 133 – Roothaanhuis
Former Catholic parochial building Roothaanhuis dates from 1929. Jan Philip Roothaan (1785-1853), born in the Jordaan neighborhood (Laurierstraat 62), became a Jesuit top dog in 1829 in Rome. After the Second World War the Roothaanhuis became a community center, where famous Jordaan singers Johnny Jordaan and Tante Leen were discovered in 1955. In 1971 it became a venue for student parties and band concerts. From 1981 (when Church De Zaaier on the other side of the Rozengracht became a mosque) there were many Turkish wedding receptions here. In 2000 it became Club More, now it’s restaurants and a night club. The building continues all the way to the parallel Rozenstraat.
Rozengracht 147-181 – Rozenhofje
In 1648 this was the location of theme park Het Nieuwe Doolhof (the New Maze). In 1744 it became the Rozenhofje (Roses Courtyard), with 55 homes for Baptist elderly women. The façade is from 1884, the courtyard was renewed in 1890 and completely renovated from 1987 to 1990, with 28 homes. Architect Abraham Salm (who designed the Nienhuys mansion), was a regent of the courtyard. The courtyard is not open to the public.
Between the numbers 189 and 205 was a nameless alley which led to a large factory, later a school called Rozenschool, demolished for a large clothes factory later.
Rozengracht 207-213 – Het Atelier
Former building De Harmonie from 1924 (now called Atelier, offices and a fitness center). Clothing company Berghaus was located here from 1960-1980. During the economic crisis of the 1930s, when the government lowered unemployment benefits by 12%, a protest meeting was held here on July 4th, 1934 — it started the Jordaanoproer (Jordaan riots) which lasted for 4 days.
Around 500 people participated, tore up streets and rained bricks and roof tiles on the police blockades. Police and army then used live ammo against the protesters and shot 5 people, 56 were severely wounded. Streets in the Jordaan were soon covered with asphalt, to prevent street bricks from being used in protests. To commemorate the Jordaanoproer, a monument by Sophie Hupkens was placed in front of the Noorderkerk in 1987, called Unity Is The Strongest Chain. Now this building houses Ultimate Performance, a fitness center and gym.
Rozengracht – Even Numbers
Let’s continue with the even numbers, starting on the side of the Westertoren. Between the numbers 16 and 22 was the Varkensgang (Pig Alley).
A house from 1636 at number 48 has the Noorderkerk on a gable stone, the façade changed in the 19th century.
Rozengracht 38 – Van der Linde
An art supplies shop which has been here since 1898. After closing hours Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962) would come here with her ladies-in-waiting to buy painting supplies. Before that it was a police station (cells from the 17th century were found during a renovation).
Rozengracht 58 – Van Arkel Shop Window
Shop window from 1907, designed by architect Gerrit van Arkel (1858-1918) for insurance company Eerste Hollandsche Levensverzekeringsbank (tile tableau), pointing to their new head office (the Astoria building at the corner of Keizersgracht and Leliegracht).
Rozengracht 104 – Gable stone
At the side of Rozengracht 104 is a gable stone from 1704 called Het Huis Te Almelo, depicting a country home created in 1663 near the town of Almelo. The stone came from a building at Rapenburgerstraat 55 (demolished in 1881 for diamond factory Metz & Citroen) and was placed here in 2005. The alleys and back buildings disapeared when the warehouse was constructed there.
Rozengracht 106-110 – House from 1650
Small house and courtyard from 1650, revealed when the house on the Rozengracht in front of it was demolished. Restored in 1955. Previously this was the Lucas Bols Taveerne, now Salmuera Argentinian cuisine.
Rozengracht 114 – Mazzo
Mazzo was a disco and conceptual art venue at this address from 1980 until 2004, in the 1980s famous for its New Wave and Punk nights, from 1989 on House and Techno. The club had quite a restrictive entrance policy, only allowing people in who were somehow linked to the audio-visual arts. Many famous artists and bands regularly hung out there after performing in Paradiso (on Weteringschans, near the Leidseplein). From 2010 until 2017 there was an Italian restaurant here, also called Mazzo. Now the building has been transformed into apartments with Brasserie Cannibale Royale on the ground floor.
Rozengracht 116-138 – Rijpenhofje
The Rijpenhofje (Rijp Courtyard) was founded in 1737 with money from an inheritance left by a man named Gerard van de Rijp. The façade shows 1747, the year it was handed over to the church. This was a Baptist courtyard for poor elderly women, which merged in 1965 with Baptist courtyard De Lely from 1872, located behind it on Bloemstraat. The city expanded the complex in 1830 with adjacent buildings, some from the adjacent Pijpenmakersgang (Pipe Makers Alley).
The increased heavier traffic on Rozengracht caused many of the old buildings to sag. So in 1912 the old Rijpenhofje was demolished and replaced in 1913 with the current building by architect A. Salm. Since 1968 the apartments are also available to men — currently 18 people live here. The courtyard was renovated in 1988 — it is not open to the public.
Rozengracht 152 – Fatih Mosque
The current mosque started out as socialist conference building called Constantia in 1890. In 1899 it was sold at an auction to a Catholic cheese shop owner, who had the building demolished in 1928. In 1929 the Catholic church St. Ignatius (De Zaaier) was constructed there, which then closed in 1971. It was a carpet shop before becoming the Fatih mosque in 1981.
Rozengracht 160 – Former Café Struik
Corner Akoleienstraat, house from around 1775. Once a literary bar run by owner Theo Ruiter (1911-1965), a member of the Dutch resistance in WW2. He had saved a German officer from drowning in Haarlem at the start of the war and was therefore able to continue his bar and resistance work, freeing many people from German imprisonment. The building needed new foundations and Café Struik closed in April 2020. The back of the house is a separate home, with the entrance on Akoleienstraat.
Rozengracht 168-178 – Edelweiss
This building from 1917 in Art Nouveau style formerly housed steam-powered laundry cleaners Edelweiss. The building, designed by architect J.H.C. Kröner, is quite deep and continues across the inner courtyards on to the parallel Bloemstraat 163-169.
Rozengracht 167-174 – Foil Beaters Alley
The Foelieslagersgang (Foil Beaters Alley) was located between the numbers 168 and 174. The foil beaters created waferthin sheets of metals (like tin, copper, silver, gold) by repeatedly hammering them. These thin sheets were then used on the back of mirrors and jewels, as well as on art objects.
Rozengracht 184 – Rembrandt’s last home
Despite a cartouche from 1919 on the façade (above the middle window on the first floor), Rembrandt’s last home is not very interesting. The original house from the 17th century was first added to in 1876 (only the lower part was kept), then the front was completely modernized in 1909. Rembrandt lived here from 1658 until 1669, together with his second wife and former maid Hendrickje Stoffels, his son Titus and daughter Cornelia. After his bankruptcy in 1658 he was forced to sell his home and studio at Jodenbreestraat (the current Rembrandthuis, where he lived and worked from 1639 until 1658). The family then moved to this rented apartment.
They opened an art dealer’s here, registered to his wife Hendrickje and son Titus — this meant Rembrandt could sell his works without his income being seized by his creditors. While living here he painted some of his best known works: the Staalmeesters (1662), the Jewish Bride (1665) and his later self-portraits (1669). Rembrandt was buried in the nearby Westerkerk on October 8, 1669.
Rozengracht 184-192 – Red Mill Alley
Between the numbers 184 and 192 (inside the former doorstep) was the entrance to the Roomolengang (Red Mill Alley), leading to two homes inside the courtyard. The building now has a tattoo shop on the ground floor.
Rozengracht 204-210 – Treacle Factory
From 1896 until 1919 this was a steam-powered factory called IJsland, producing treacle and coffee syrup. That name is still on the building and the wall anchor on top of the façade is shaped like a boy holding a treacle jar. In 1919 the heirs of Lucas Bols became the owners, they left at the end of the 1960s. On the front is a gable stone with three black felt hats which reads “In de Swarte Kasstoor” (a kasstoor was a hat made of beaver felt). The stone came from a 17th century hat workshop located here before. Between numbers 206 and 212 was the entrance to the Hoedengang (Hats Alley).
Part of a group of four shops from 1897. Number 212 was until 1901 a delivery house for the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg-Maatschappij (Dutch Iron Railroad Company), where people could drop off goods to be sent, later it became a hat shop. Number 214 was a laundry for the Berlijnsche Stoom-Wasch- en Ververij (Berlin Steamwashers and Dyers), later a jeweler. The shop window of number 214A is still largely original. In 1898 this was a pastry shop. Now it’s a Surinam-Indonesian eatery.
Rozengracht 238 – Fire Station Rudolf from 1894
This auxiliary fire station in Neo-Renaissance style (called Rudolf) from 1894 had a man-powered fire hose pump, on a carriage drawn by two horses, meant to service the entire Amsterdam-West area. On the back is a small terrace with battlements. The station’s crew came from the parallel Rozenstraat. The building is a municipal monument and has a gable stone with the Amsterdam seal on the façade. This fire station closed in 1988.
Rozengracht 224A – Fire Station Hendrik
This corner of Rozengracht and Marnixstraat was once the location of a former School for the Poor in 1877. In 1929 it became the Museum van den Arbeid (Museum of Labor). In 1952 it became the NINT museum (Nederlands Instituut voor Nijverheid en Techniek), demolished in 1983. The NINT museum then moved to former diamond factory Asscher at Tolstraat, before it became Science Center NEMO on top of the IJ tunnel in 1997.
The location of the demolished school is now a fire station, official address Marnixstraat 170. It opened in 1985. A gable stone from 1685 depicting Saint Victor (the patron saint of corn millers) is attached to the front. That stone came from windmill The Victor, which stood on former bastion Rijk. A plaque in front of restaurant Moeders (Rozengracht 251, at the southern corner of the bridge across Lijnbaansgracht) marks the location of the former bastion Rijk with the windmill on it.
Rozengracht 226 – Pet Doctors
Right next to the fire station is a half-timbered building from 1888 by the city’s Public Works department, now housing pet clinic DierenDokters. Created for the city’s Geneeskundige Armenverzorging (Medical Care for the Poor), the construction is a national monument. It was extended in 1902 and in 1939 the Armenverzorging moved to Van Oldenbarneveldtstraat. In 1940 a pet clinic for the poor opened there, started by the Association for the Protection of Animals (Bond voor Daadwerkelijke Dierenbescherming). Since 1976 it’s a regular pet clinic.
The Rozengracht continues after the Lijnbaansgracht, up to the Rijckerbrug bridge between Rozengracht and De Clercqstraat. On that bridge across the Singelgracht (designed by architect Piet Kramer) is a statue of a firefighter battling a fire-breathing dragon by sculptor Frans Werner (1879-1955), who also made one of the statues (Girl with Lamb) on the terrace near Muzenplein.
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