The east side of Rokin, Amsterdam

The East Side of Rokin

The Rokin, between Dam and Munt­plein, is part of the original Amstel river bank, first simply called Amstel. Near Dam square a dam had been built in the river around 1265-1275. The houses here were directly on the water. In the 16th century they had to be partly demolished and moved back for the construction of a quay. It was thus named Ruck-in in 1559 (meaning scram, move back, retreat). Around 1563 this became Rock-Inne and finally Rock-in and Rokin.

Rokin, Amsterdam, seen in southern direction from the Industria building

Rokin seen in southern direction from the Industria building. On the left the white building of Rokin 17-19, Rokin 21, 49 & 65 (May 2022).

In 1933 and 1936 the water of the Amstel river between Spui and Dam square was partly filled in, so the Rokin is now two-thirds street. Amsterdamers distinguish between the Wet and the Dry Rokin since then.

Amsterdam’s First Exchange

Amsterdam’s first Exchange by architect Hendrick de Keyser) stood on arches over the water of the Rokin, just south of Dam square, from 1609 until it was demolished in 1835.

Rokin, Amsterdam, around 1654 with the first Amsterdam Exchange, designed by Hendrick de Keyser

Rokin, still water around 1654, with the first Amsterdam Exchange, designed by Hendrick de Keyser, looking north in the direction of Dam square. Engraving by Reinier Nooms (1623-1664) (Collection Atlas Splitgerber, Stads­archief Amsterdam).


This was once a very pictu­resque part of Amsterdam — during the 18th century the street was bustling with trade, boats loading and unloading, the water smelly and dirty. There were more than 20 book­stores and a few hardware stores. In front of the Nieuwe­zijds Kapel, passengers boarded tow barges to other cities. There were many coffee houses and beer taverns as well.

In the 19th century the city wanted to make Rokin a boulevard with luxury shops, offices and restaurants, art dealers, tobacco merchants and financial firms. Perceived stains were removed, like a luxury brothel (demolished in 1903) and a floating bath house (where people could bathe in water from the IJ or from the North sea, demolished in 1914). Despite the many tacky shops and tourist traps here these days and the changes because of the subway construction, the street still has interesting historic buildings. In this post we will do the uneven numbers — let’s start at the east side of the Rokin and work our way towards the Muntplein.

Rokin, Amsterdam, in the rain, seen from the Industria building towards the south

Rokin in the rain, seen from the Industria building towards the south (May 2023).


This street, next to Rokin 9, between the Industria building and Scheltema, was named after a house from 1600 called De Heremyt (The Hermit), which stood at the corner of Rokin. In 1912 the alley was widened and renamed to street.

Rokin 9-15 – Scheltema Bookstore

The five story building De Roos from 1911 was created by architect F.A. Bodde for art auctioneers C.F. Roos. Auctioneers Mak used it from 1919 until 1933. Bookstore Scheltema (founded 1853) moved here in 2015. They had already been on Rokin before (1885-1975), later moved to Spui 10A (1975-1985), then to Konings­plein (1985-2015).

Fountain by Mark Manders in front of Scheltema and former Hudson's Bay on Rokin, Amsterdam

The fountain by Mark Manders from 2017 in front of Scheltema and former Hudson’s Bay on Rokin (August 2022).

Rokin 17-19, former Blikman & Sartorius

Number 17 and 19 were designed by architect A. Salm in 1875 and 1891 for office supplies store Blikman & Sartorius, who also had a print store on Nes side. Around 1900 they expanded to the Nadorststeeg, the buildings united by an air bridge. In 1912 they moved to a factory on Haarlemmervaart and the buildings on Rokin were renovated by architect G.A. van Arkel. Until 1934 these buildings were directly on the water.

Blikman & Sartorius at Rokin 17, Amsterdam, in 1909

Blikman & Sartorius at Rokin 17 in 1909, on the right the Nadorst­steeg (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Canadian warehouse Hudson’s Bay was here from 2017-2019. Today the ground and first floor are retail space, the top floors apartments.

In the center the white building at Rokin 17-19, Amsterdam, Nadorststeeg to the right of it

In the center the white building at Rokin 17-19, to the right of it the Nadorststeeg and Adyen (August 2023).


The Nadorststeeg (Nadorst Alley) is located between Rokin 17 and 19. Nadorst is a Dutch word for the thirst you feel after drinking to excess. Some say it was named after an inn at the corner of Nadorst­steeg and Nes in 1577, others maintain it was a humorous corruption of Naarder­steeg (Naarden Alley), named after the barges to Naarden which moored here. On the side wall of Rokin 17, in the Nadorststeeg, a restored gable stone from 1707 with money flowing out of a an iron pot with the words “In the Reversed Pot”.

Gable stone In de verkeerde Pot from 1707 in the Nadorststeeg, Amsterdam

Nadorststeeg, gable stone from 1707 (November 2023).

Rokin 21 & 49 – Adyen

Banks Fortis and MeesPierson had been in huge pink bank building from 1989 at Rokin 55, until they were bank­rupted during the 2008 financial crisis. The large building was demolished in 2013-2014 and replaced by the two current ones on Rokin 21 and 49 in 2016. Now they house Adyen, a payment facilitator (for a.o. Uber, Spotify, McDonald’s, H&M and KLM). Adyen uses the buildings from here up to the NRC/Green Palace building — they even have their own metro entrance.

Rokin 17-19, Rokin 21 and Rokin 49, Amsterdam

Rokin 17-19, Rokin 21 and Rokin 49 (August 2023).

Rokin 65 – NRC building (Green Palace)

Until 1903 there was an expensive luxury brothel here at the corner of Wijde Lombardsteeg, called Green Palace. The current transparent building from 1987 was designed by architect Cees Dam, originally built for the Options Exchange, which moved to Beursplein in 1995. Since 2012 the newspaper NRC Handelsblad is housed here, their official entrance at Nes 76 (back of the building). Bar Restaurant Het Groene Paleis (The Green Palace) is on the ground floor.

NRC building with restaurant Het Groene Paleis at Rokin 65, Amsterdam

In the center the NRC building with restaurant Het Groene Paleis at Rokin 65 (November 2023).

Wijde Lombardsteeg

Between Rokin 65 and 69 is the Wijde Lombardsteeg (Wide Pawnshop Alley). From 1446 until 1578 there was a convent of the Alexians here (up to Cellebroerssteeg at the southern edge of the city), who devoted themselves to caring for the sick, even during bubonic plague pandemics. The street crosses the Nes and then continues as Enge Lombard­steeg (Narrow Pawn­shop Alley) to the Stadsbank van Lening (City Pawn Bank) on Oude­zijds Voor­burgwal.

Former Alexian Convent seen from the back at Nes 70-58 towards Rokin 69, Amsterdam, in 1544

The former Alexian Convent in 1544, seen from the back at Nes 70-58 towards Rokin 69 (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Rokin 69 – Marine Insurance Company

This building, on the corner of the Wijde Lombard­steeg, dates from 1901 and was designed by architect Gerrit van Arkel (he also did the Astoria and Helios buildings). It housed the Marine Insurance Company Ltd. until 1919, after that another stock broker and insurance firm.

Marine Insurance Company building at Rokin 69, Amsterdam

The Marine Insurance Company building by Gerrit van Arkel at Rokin 69 (August 2023).

Rokin 71-73 – Hotel Rokin

Rokin 71 is from around 1700. Rokin 73 is called De Blaeuwe Arent (the Blue Eagle) and dates from around 1775. Both buildings are in use by Hotel Rokin.

Rokin 75-79

A home, warehouse and beer tavern were demolished here in 1913, when an office was built, designed by architect Gerrit van Arkel for tobacco merchant Manus. In 1962 two additonal stories were added by architect Piet Zanstra.


Located between Rokin 81 and 83, the Celle­broers­steeg is named after the convent of the Alexians, who treated sick males. They were on a terrain between Nes and Rokin from before 1440 until 1578. After 1475 a convent of Alexian sisters (between Zeedijk 106 and 120, where the He Hua temple is now) took care of sick women in the city.

Rokin 85-89

The Old Irish Pub is located in two houses at Rokin 85-89. Number 85 dates from 1803, while the houses at number 87-89 date from 1748, united under one straight gable around 1920. Barent Momma (1811-1871) was director of plumbing company De Oude Loodmijn and member of the city council. From 1890-1891 this was a cardboard factory called Deutz & Raulino.

Rokin 85, Amsterdam, house from 1803

Rokin 85 dates from 1803 (July 2022).

Rokin 87-89, Amsterdam, from 1748 and united around 1920, with tiles above the windows

Rokin 87-89, from 1748, united around 1920. The tiles above the windows read “Loodgieterij – De Oude Loodmijn” (July 2022).

Rokin 87-89, Amsterdam, close-up of the tiles above the windows

Rokin 87-89, close-up of the tiles above the windows (July 2022).

Rokin 91 – House with the Eagles

Building from 1664 in Dutch Classicist style with eagles on the top of the façade. Originally constructed in for Koert Sievertsen Adelaer, a Dutch-Norwegian gentleman appointed as General Admiral of Denmark. The house was restored in 1934 and 1963.

Rokin 87-89, Rokin 91 (House with the Eagles), Kalfsvelsteeg and Rokin 93, Amsterdam

Left to right: Rokin 87-89, Rokin 91 (House with the Eagles), Kalfsvelsteeg and Rokin 93 (June 2022).

Close-up of the gable of the House with the Eagles at Rokin 91, Amsterdam

Close-up of the gable of the House with the Eagles at Rokin 91 (June 2022).


The Kalfsvelsteeg (Calf Hide Alley), between numbers 91 and 93, is an alley from Rokin to Nes. The name probably came from a sign — before that it was called Stijfselsteegje (Starch Alley). This is one of the oldest parts of the city, from before 1342. On the right hand corner was a house created from the chapel of the St. Maria convent (a Franciscan women’s convent from 1415). The convent burned down in 1541 and was demolished in 1585. The nuns once owned terrain from here to Lange­brug­steeg to the south, but today nothing of that old convent remains.

Entrance of the Kalfsvelsteeg on Rokin, Amsterdam

Entrance of the Kalfsvelsteeg on Rokin, between numbers 91 and 93 (July 2022).

Rokin 93

This building from 1896 was created for a tobacco broker by architects Scholl & Haverkamp, expanded in 1905-1906. Brusse & Gransberg from 1865 merged with tobacco firm Nienhuys & Hesterman and was located here until 1985. An earlier home created from the chapel of the St. Maria convent was demolished in 1896.

Rokin 93, Amsterdam, left of it the Kalfsvelsteeg

In the center Rokin 93 from 1906, left of it the Kalfsvelsteeg (November 2023).

Rokin 95 – Satchmo Restaurant

This building from 1646 in Dutch Classicist style was designed by architect Philips Vingboons and later remodeled (the neck gable removed) with an Empire-style entrance. Now it is home to Satchmo (named after Louis Armstrong), a NYC style bistro restaurant and cocktailbar on two floors, with old style jazz music.

Far right Rokin 95 (Satchmo), Amsterdam, looking north towards Rokin 75

Far right Rokin 95 (Satchmo), looking north towards Rokin 75 (November 2023).

Rokin 95 to 101, Amsterdam, the entrance of Satchmo on the left

Rokin 95 to 101, entrance of Satchmo on the left at number 95 (November 2023).

Rokin 97

Built in 1898 as home and office for dentist Wolf Son, who used it until 1910.

Rokin 99 – Oudhof

Postmodernist building from 1990, designed by architect Mart van Schijndel (1943-1999) as an office for securities trading company Oudhof, who left in 1998. Now it’s used by the buyers of supermarket Spar International. The colors on the gable and door are taken from the iconic Fiat Tipo. The door handle has two inter­twined snakes, representing the Roman god of trade Mercury. Despite being controversial, the building is now the city’s youngest municipal monument.

Rokin 97 (1898), Rokin 99 (1990) and Rokin 101 (1915), Amsterdam

Rokin 97 (1898), Rokin 99 (1990) and Rokin 101 (1915) (August 2023).

Rokin 101 – Spar

Office building from 1915 for a tobacco company, after 1935 a banker and securities trader. Since 1962 it houses the buyers of supermarket Spar International.

Rokin 103

This building from 1884 is Cha Cha bar & restaurant and small hotel.

Rokin 99 (Oudhof), Amsterdam, looking south, Cha Cha at Rokin 103

Rokin 99 (Oudhof) looking south, Cha Cha at Rokin 103 in the center (November 2023).

Rokin 99 to 105, Amsterdam, bike parking in front

Rokin 99 to 105, bike parking in front (November 2023).

Rokin 105

House in Louis XIV style from the 17th century, changed around 1725. Grapes on the pediment.

Rokin 103, 105, 107, 109-111 and 113, Amsterdam, with bike parking in front

Rokin 103, 105, 107, 109-111 and 113, with bike parking in front (February 2022).

Rokin 109-111 – De Tabaksplant

This building from 1923, called De Tabaks­plant (Tobacco Plant) was designed by J. London as an office for a tobacco company. It goes all the way to Nes 122-126. On top of the façade a barrel sur­rounded by tobacco leaves. The company went bankrupt in 1922 and the building was sold in auction. A factory for ladies clothing and a company selling silver cutlery followed. Ophen, a Dutch financial technology company, has been here since 2019.

Building De Tabaksplant (The Tobacco Plant) at Rokin 109-111, Amsterdam

Rokin 105 to 115, in the center grey building De Tabaksplant (The Tobacco Plant) at Rokin 109-111 (August 2023).

Looking south from Rokin 109, Amsterdam, towards Langebrugsteeg

Looking south from Rokin 109 towards Lange­brug­steeg (November 2023).

Rokin 113 – Spar Supermarket

On the ground floor of Rokin 113 is a small Spar supermarket. The building in Louis XIV style dates from around 1725. The top floors of 113 and 115 are used as offices.

Rokin 115 – Station Rokin

Trade building and office from 1929, by architect H.A.J. Baanders in Rationalist style, for life insurance company Algemeene Friesche Levens­verzekering Maat­schappij. Above the entrance the Amsterdam seal and Frisian seal and four sculptures by Hildo Krop (Prosperity, Labor, Care and Rest). The building was extensively restored inside and out in 1967. After the insurance company left around 1950, it became a securities trader. When metro line 52 had been finished, the building was given the name Station Rokin, confusing tourists who think it’s the metro entrance. Since 2019 it is in use by bank-tech company Ohpen, together with number 109-111.

Rokin 109 to 119, Amsterdam. In the center building Station Rokin from 1929 at Rokin 115

Rokin 109 to 119. In the center building Station Rokin from 1929 at Rokin 115 (August 2023)

Rokin 117

House from between 1775 and 1800, called Hardenberg. Around 1900 this was Eisendrath’s bookstore and reading library.

Rokin 113 to 121, Amnsterdam, on the right the Hardenberg building and Meuwese

Rokin 113 to 121, on the right the Hardenberg building and Meuwese (November 2023).

Rokin 119-121

House from the 17th century, remodeled around 1725-1750. Together with corner house Rokin 121b (from around 1775), this started out as a hairdresser, then became an espresso bar and a sandwich shop, for the last 20 years it has been Brasserie Meuwese.

Rokin 119-121, Amsterdam, Brasserie Meuwese at the corner of the Langebrugsteeg

Rokin 119-121, Brasserie Meuwese at the corner of the Langebrugsteeg (November 2023).


Between Rokin 121 and 123 is the Langebrug­steeg (Long Bridge Alley), which runs from Rokin to Nes along the Grimburgwal. It was named after the Langebrug (Long Bridge), then a wooden drawbridge, which crossed the Rokin water here once. The Langebrug was one of the oldest bridges across the Amstel, dating from around 1350 (back then the Amstel river was quite wide here), nicknamed Donderbrug (Thunder Bridge) because of the noise carriages made on it. Around 1860 the old bridge was renewed and in 1875 it was replaced with an iron fixed bridge. The bridge was demolished and became a quay when in 1937 this part of Rokin was filled in.

Rokin 111-119, Amsterdam, near Langebrugsteeg, around 1910. On the right the Grimburgwal

Rokin 111-119 near Langebrugsteeg around 1910, on the right the Grimburgwal (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

At the corner of Rokin and Langebrugsteeg a statue of Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962) on horseback by sculptor Theresia R. van der Pant, placed here in 1972, replacing the statue Fortuna by Hildo Krop, which was then moved to the Muntsluis bridge.

Statue of Queen Wilhelmina on horseback, corner Langebrugsteeg and Rokin, Amsterdam

Statue of Queen Wilhelmina on horseback, corner Langebrugsteeg and Rokin (February 2022).

Rokin 123

The house from the 17th century at the right hand corner of Langebrugsteeg was once Instrument factory A.J. Schokking since 1873, providing barometers, thermometers, spectacles, binoculars and mathematical, scientific and nautical instruments. In 1923 they moved to Kalverstraat. Now it’s jeweller The Mill Diamonds.

Langebrugsteeg, Amsterdam, with Rokin 123 and Grimburgwal on the right

Langebrugsteeg with Rokin 123 and Grimburgwal on the right (November 2023).


The bridge which carries from Langebrugsteeg to Oude Turfmarkt, across the Grimburgwal, is called Grimnessesluis. Predecessors of that bridge existed here before 1538.

Standing on the bridge Grimnessesluis, Amsterdam, looking down Grimburgwal

Standing on bridge Grimnesse­sluis (from Lange­brug­steeg to Oude Turfmarkt), looking down Grim­burgwal (November 2023).

Oude Turfmarkt

From Langebrugsteeg up to Doelensluis bridge (Hotel De L’Europe) is the so-called Wet Rokin. The quay on the eastern side is called Oude Turfmarkt (Old Peat Market). This was an actual peat market from 1564 until 1642. The name was changed to Rokin in 1913, but in 1947 it was officially named Oude Turfmarkt again, since Amsterdammers stubbornly continued to use that old name. In the water in front of Oude Turfmarkt are the tour boats of Rederij P. Kooij, in Amsterdam since 1922.

Rokin and Oude Turfmarkt, Amsterdam, seen from Langebrugsteeg towards Muntplein

Oude Turfmarkt, seen from Langebrugsteeg towards Muntplein (June 2020).

In 1403 a convent was built here, called Nieuwe Nonnenklooster (New Nuns Convent), with an added guesthouse in 1504. When Amsterdam officially became a Protestant city in 1578, both the Old Nuns Convent and New Nuns Convent were taken over by the city and transformed into an inner city hospital, the Binnengasthuis. This terrain is now one of the main locations of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).


The Turfdraagsterpad (Female Peat Carrier Path) was named after the women in this area who worked filling peat baskets, which young men would then transport. So it’s actually a misnomer, since the women filled the baskets but did not actually carry them. The path lies between the former maternity ward of the Binnengasthuis hospital and the Allard Pierson Museum. It was property of the hospital (from 1868-1870, Oude Turfmarkt 125) and became publicly accesssible only in 1986.

Looking north from Oude Turfmarkt 145, Amsterdam, in the direction of Dam square

Looking north from Oude Turfmarkt 145 in the direction of Dam square (August 2023).

Allard Pierson Museum

The Allard Pierson archeological museum is located here in a building from 1868, until 1968 the Dutch National Bank. Already discussed in another blog post.

At Oude Turfmarkt 145 is a house from 1643 designed by architect Philips Vingboons, inventor of the neck gable.

Oude Turfmarkt, Amsterdam, looking north from Doelensluis, with house by Philips Vingboons at number 145

Oude Turfmarkt seen from Doelen­sluis. At number 145 the house designed by Philips Vingboons (August 2023).

The Other Side of Rokin

I will cover the west side of Rokin (even numbers) later in a separate post.

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