Rokin, Amsterdam, west part1

The West Side of Rokin, Part 1

A short history of Amsterdam’s Rokin was already out­lined in the blog post “The east side of Rokin“, which holds the uneven numbers. The west side of Rokin has the even numbers — we’ll go from Dam square to Muntplein. This side starts on the corner of Dam square with the building of Madame Tussaud’s and clothing store Peek & Cloppenburg.

Because the west side of Rokin is quite a stretch, I’ll discuss it in two parts: part 1 will cover Dam to Spui, part 2 will cover Spui to Muntplein.

Rokin, Amsterdam, seen from the Industria building

Rokin, seen from the Industria building. On the right the west side (May 2022).


The Kromelleboogsteeg (Crooked Elbow Alley), between Rokin 6 and 8, was once crooked, bending from Rokin towards Dam square. When fashion store Peek & Cloppenburg (now also Madame Tussaud’s) was built in 1914-1917 it became a dead end alley.

Rokin 8

This house from 1766 at the corner of Krom­elle­boog­steeg has remarkable bay windows on the side.

Rokin 10 – The Bakery

Shop from 1894, built for tailor J. Seelig by architect A.L. van Gendt. Dutch pop singer Wally Tax lived on the second floor a few years in the 1970s.

From right to left: Peek & Cloppenburg, Kromelleboogsteeg, Rokin 8, Rokin 10, Amsterdam

From right to left: Peek & Cloppenburg, Krom­elle­boog­steeg, Rokin 8, Rokin 10 and part of Rokin Plaza (August 2023).

Rokin 12-16 – Rokin Plaza

The modern Rokin Plaza building dates from 1983. In May 1977 Hotel Polen (from 1891) and adjacent second-hand bookstore De Slegte burned down here in one of the largest fires in Amsterdam’s recent history, with 33 deaths and 46 wounded. The fire had started in a furniture showroom on the ground floor. The current building, the front renewed in 2015, now houses Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo since 2018 and Spanish fashion retailer Pull & Bear. The Papen­broek­steeg runs through the building, connecting Kalverstraat and Rokin.

Hotel Polen at Rokin 14, Amsterdam, in August 1974

Hotel Polen at Rokin 14 in August 1974 (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Rokin Plaza at Rokin 12-16, Amsterdam, on the right the Papenbroeksteeg

Rokin Plaza at Rokin 12-16, Uniqlo and Pull & Bear, on the right the Papen­broek­steeg (August 2023).


The Papenbroeksteeg, between Rokin 12 and 14, was called Popius­steeg (Popius Alley) in the 16th century, after an art-loving banker and merchant called Pompeius Occo, who lived next door. The rich East-Frisian Poppe Okkesz (1483-1537) called himself Popius or Pompeius Occo. The current name of the alley comes from Marten van Papen­broek (1567-1640), an Antwerp merchant, art collector and active rhetorician, who lived at the end of the alley near Kalver­straat. This alley ran between bookstore De Slegte and Hotel Polen, until the fire in 1977 destroyed both. Now the alley runs through the Rokin Plaza shopping complex.

Looking south from Rokin 12-16, Amsterdam

Looking south from Rokin 12-16 (August 2023).

Rokin 18 – Restaurant Dilbar

This house from the first quarter of the 17th century had the 1868 gable restored and changed in 1935 and 1984. It was renovated 2020-2022 and is now a restaurant and apartments.

Rokin 20 – Subway

This corner house (built between 1850 and 1900) became the Amsterdam location of a famous kosher restaurant from Berlin, called Rubinstein, in 1933. Amsterdam had around 79,000 Jewish inhabitants back then. Because of the economic crisis the restaurant lasted only a few years, the assets auctioned off in 1936. These days it’s a Subway.

Rokin 12-16, Rokin 18, Rokin 20, Spaarpotsteeg and Rokin 22, Amsterdam

From right to left: part of Rokin 12-16, Rokin 18, Rokin 20 and Rokin 22. Between number 20 and 22 the Spaar­pot­steeg (August 2023).


The Spaarpotsteeg (Piggy Bank Alley) between Rokin 20 and 22 got its name from a house which in 1596 had a piggy bank on its gable stone. The alley has had various other names: from 1600 to 1650 this alley was called Spreeuw­pot­steeg (Starling Pot Alley) or Hoeren­steeg (Whores Alley), changed to Spaar­pot­steeg around the 18th century. A highly exclusive club called Onder Ons (Among Ourselves), the closed façade five windows wide on Kalver­straat 27, only has an entrance on Spaar­pot­steeg.

Rokin 22 – Starlings

This house, from before the 17th century, was changed in the 19th century. The 17th century gable stone (restored in 2017) shows a pot used as a nesting place by starlings.

Close-up of the gable stone on the front of Rokin 22, Amsterdam, a nesting pot with starlings

Close-up of the gable stone on the front of Rokin 22, a nesting pot with starlings (August 2023).

Rokin 24

House front from the 19th century, the 18th century gable top probably came from elsewhere. Now a Tibetan Massage.

Rokin 26

This house from 1883 was a barbershop from 1911 until 1970. The barber (Maison Faas) sued the city in 1917 because he objected to forced closure on Sundays and won. After 1970 it became Chinese restaurant FuLu Mandarijn (Sichuan cuisine).

Rokin 26 and 24, Amsterdam, Spaarpotsteeg to the right

Rokin 26 and 24, the Spaar­pot­steeg on the right (August 2023).

Front of Rokin 26, Amsterdam, Restaurant FuLu Mandarijn

The front of Rokin 26, Restaurant FuLu Mandarijn (August 2023).

Rokin 30

Shop and apartment from 1880, built for a bookstore by architect A.L. van Gendt, in 1892 a printer’s.


Between Rokin 34 and 36 is the Gaper­steeg (Gaper Alley). The alley was named after a wooden gaper figure­head which hung on the corner in the 17th century. Gapers traditionally indicated a drugstore or pharmacist. On the side wall of Rokin 36 an advert for watch seller Henri Jullien from around 1910.

Gapersteeg, Amsterdam, between Rokin 34 and 36 with mural advert for watch seller Henri Jullien

Gapersteeg between Rokin 34 and 36 with mural advert for watch seller Henri Jullien (August 2023).

Rokin 36

This house on the corner of Gaper­steeg was built in 1906 for clock sellers Henri Jullien, founded in 1843. Their name is still on the wall on Gaper­steeg. They moved to Keizers­gracht 173 in 1923. On the façade near the third floor is a relief portrait of Christiaan Huygens, which was probably Henri Jullien’s tribute to him as inventor of the pendulum clock. Since 2020 it’s an Albert Heijn AH-to-Go supermarket.

Rokin 32 (right) to Rokin 46 (left), Amsterdam. In the center Rokin 36

Rokin 32 (right) to Rokin 46 (left). In the center (the taller building) Rokin 36 (May 2023).

Rokin 38

Around 1875 this was Café Restaurant De Pool, their name is still visible on the front. This house was remodeled in 1880 by architect J. van Looy and housed clock seller Jullien from 1887 to 1906, who later moved to Rokin 36. After a fire the house was remodeled again in 1926. Hardware store L. Rodrigues was here from 1950 until 1977, when both owners died in a Tenerife plane crash. Today it’s another Tours & Tickets.

Rokin 36 (right) to Rokin 46 (left), Amsterdam. The grey building is former Café Restaurant De Pool

Rokin 36 (right) to Rokin 46 (left). The grey building is former Café Restaurant De Pool (August 2023).

Rokin 44 – Drijfhout

This Art Nouveau building with shop and offices from 1900 was designed by Joseph Herman. The wrought iron balcony railing in Art Nouveau style was removed in the 1960s. In 1901 a goldsmith started here, followed by another goldsmith in 1902. Their name (Drijfhout) is still on the front. In 1909 there was an art dealer here, followed by a bookstore from 1920 to 1970. The façade was restored in 2000.

Rokin 38 to 50, Amsterdam. In the center at Rokin 44 former Drijfhout building

Rokin 38 (right) to Rokin 50 (left). In the center at Rokin 44 former Drijfhout building (August 2023).

Rokin 46

This house from around 1800 was once housed fine art dealer Gebr. Douwes, who were here from 1915 to 1993. Rokin 46 now has a souvenir shop on the ground floor and offices above.

Rokin 48

Rokin 48 was built in 1667 and remodeled in 1877.

Rokin 50 – Muziek en Kunst

Shop and house from 1893 in Neo-Baroque style, built for bookstore Schröder by architect J. van Looy. The original bookstore had an art department on the first floor. From 1907 until 1961 this was a shop selling linoleum floors. The ground floors have been changed considerably and are now a souvenir shop.

Rokin 44 (right) to 56 (left), Amsterdam. At number 50 the yellow Muziek & Kunst building

Rokin 44 (right) to 56 (left). At number 50 the yellow Muziek & Kunst building (August 2023).

Looking north towards Dam square from Rokin 50, Amsterdam

Looking north towards Dam square from Rokin 50 (May 2023).

Rokin 54 and 56

Rokin 54 (from 1650) and Rokin 56 (from 1775) only exist as fronts for a new building behind it from 1964. The modern ground floor was created for a travel agency, the original front gables put on top. KPN (a Dutch telecommunications company) is now on the ground floor.

Rokin 58 – Art Nouveau

This building from 1898 in a sober Art Nouveau style was designed by architect Gerrit van Arkel. Near the third floor are two stylized birds of prey. The ground floor was made into a shop in 1919. Initially a publishers, after 1950 an Australian bank. The glass part of the façade was added around 1980. These days it has Productpine, an online shopping platform.

Rokin 54 to 62, Amsterdam, between number 60 and 62 the Duifjessteeg

Rokin 54 (right) to Rokin 62 (left). The yellow building at Rokin 58 was designed by Van Arkel. Between number 60 and 62 the Duifjes­steeg (July 2022).


Duifjessteeg (Doves Alley) between Rokin 60 and 62, was named after a beer brewery called ‘t Duyfje, located here around 1600. Right across from here was a small ferry across the Rokin water until 1934.

Rokin, Amsterdam, seen towards Dam square in 1910, with small ferry at the height of Duifjessteeg

Rokin in 1910, seen towards Dam square, with small ferry at the height of Duifjes­steeg (Stads­archief Amsterdam).

Rokin 62-64 – Hotel Cordial

This building at the left corner of Duifjessteeg dates from 1915, replacing an older building.

Rokin 64 – De Moor

This office building from 1610 has a roof pediment from around 1725, showing a moor holding bow and arrow. It had nothing to do with slavery, it was a play on the family name of the Flemish owner, tobacco merchant Barthelomeus Moor (1573-1636), who had bought the terrain in 1610. The son of his daughter Catherine, Daniel Bernard (1626-1714) was involved in slave trade, as director of the Sociëteit Suriname in 1689. The alley to the left of the building is called Mooresteegje (Moor Alley).

Looking south from Rokin 60, Amsterdam, towards Arti et Amicitiae

Looking south from Rokin 60 towards Arti et Amicitiae (May 2023).

Rokin 54 to 66 , Amsterdam, left Mooresteegje and building The Moor at Rokin 64

Rokin 54 (right) to 66 (left). Far left the Moore­steegje and building The Moor at Rokin 64 (May 2023).

Close-up of the top gable of Rokin 64, Amsterdam, a Moor holding a bow and arrow

Close-up of the top gable of Rokin 64 with Moor holding a bow and arrow (May 2023).


The Mooresteegje (Moor Alley), between Rokin 64 and 66 (closed off these days), is named after the house at number 64.

The closed-off Mooresteegje between Rokin 64 and 66, Amsterdam

The closed-off Mooresteegje between Rokin 64 and 66 (August 2023).

Rokin 66

Crystal merchants Muller (since mid 18th century in Amsterdam) had this shop built in 1889 by architect Y. Bijvoets. They closed in 1978. From 1987 until 1998 it was Boetiek Puck en Hans, their name still above the shop window. Puck & Hans was a fashion label by the designer couple Puck Kroon and Hans Kemmink — they had three stores between 1968 and 1998, where they sold their own designs as well as creations by international designers. Now Curly Girl hair products.

Rokin 66 to Rokin 78, Amsterdam

Rokin 66 (right) to Rokin 78 (left) (May 2023).

Rokin 68 – Douglas

Around 1883 this was tailor J.A. Jordan, now perfume store Douglas.

Rokin 70 – Jamin

Rokin 70 from 1734 was once a bookstore and antiques dealer, now a Jamin candy store.

Looking south from Rokin 68, Amsterdam, in the direction of Arti near Spui

Looking south from Rokin 68 in the direction of Arti near Spui (July 2022).

Rokin 72 – Schmidt Optician

This Art Nouveau shop and home from 1917, designed by architect P. van Dijk, is called De Gouden Bril (The Golden Glasses). Schmidt Optiek is the oldest optician in the Netherlands, founded in 1866. The interior of the shop — made of Cuban mahogany — is still largely original. On top of the roof is a statue of a monkey with a telescope. On the front heads of two men in sandstone, one with glasses and one without. On the side on Wijde Kapel­steeg is a sculpture of Zacharias Jansen (believed to be the inventor of binoculars) by Dirk Polet from 1918 — also two gable stones from the houses from 1661 which were demolished for the current building. The building was restored in 2001.

Sign of optician Schmidt, Amsterdam, corner Rokin seen from Wijde Kapelsteeg

Sign of optician Schmidt, corner Rokin seen from Wijde Kapel­steeg (August 2023).

Statue of Zacharias Jansen on Wijde Kapelsteeg, Amsterdam, side of the building of Rokin 72

Statue of Zacharias Jansen on Wijde Kapel­steeg, side of the building of Rokin 72 (August 2023).

Statue of a monkey with a telescope, looking down from the rooftop of Rokin 72, Amsterdam

Statue of a monkey with a telescope, looking down from the rooftop of Rokin 72 (July 2022).

Wijde Kapelsteeg

Between Rokin 72 and 74 is the Wijde Kapel­steeg, part of the block surrounding the Nieuwe­zijds Kapel. Until the 17th century this alley was called Wijde Heiligen­steeg (Wide Saints Alley).

Rokin 74

Shop and home from 1885, initially built for bookstore Scheltema & Holkema (from 1853), who had first been located near the Krom­elle­boog­steeg. Around 1895 the store expanded to Rokin 76, then they moved to Spui in 1975. This building was Brasserie Beems from 1985-2018. Since 2019 it has been a Starbucks.

In the center Rokin 74, Amsterdam, now Starbucks, to the right of it the Wijde Kapelsteeg

In the center Rokin 74, now Starbucks, to the right of it the Wijde Kapel­steeg (July 2022).

Rokin 76

This curious shop and house from 1896 by architect Jan Springer (1850-1915) was built as an expansion for bookstore Scheltema at number 74. The building has a balcony and small tower, now almost invisible after the complex of the Nieuwe­zijds Kapel from 1908-1912 appeared. Springer (the Stads­schouw­burg on Leidse­plein his best known work) had done his best to preserve the free view of the original Holy Stead Chapel, but to no avail, the Nieuwe­zijds Kapel shop front almost squashed his efforts.

Rokin 78-82 – Van Wisselingh & Nieuwezijds Kapel

Once the location of the Catholic Heilige Stede chapel, this Protestant church (Nieuwe­zijds Kapel) and the sur­rounding shops were built in 1908-1912, designed by architect C.B. Posthumus Meyjes. Art dealer Van Wisselingh was here until 1983, now it’s the Amsterdam Dungeon. The Nieuwe­zijds Kapel was already discussed in a separate blogpost: Nieuwezijds Kapel on Rokin.

Enge Kapelsteeg, Nieuwezijds Kapel at Rokin 78-82, Rokin 76, Rokin 74, Amsterdam

Left to right: Enge Kapelsteeg, Rokin 78-82, Rokin 76 and Rokin 74. In front the entrance of the Rokin car parking (July 2022).

Enge Kapelsteeg

Between Rokin 82 and 84 is the Enge Kapel­steeg, part of the block surrounding the Protestant Nieuwe­zijds Kapel. It has a gate of the original Catholic Heilige Stede Chapel (demolished in 1908), the gate incorporated in the new block from 1912.

Eagle holding a shield with caduceus (Staff of Hermes) on the wall on Enge Kapelsteeg, Amsterdam

Eagle holding a shield with caduceus (Staff of Hermes) on the wall on Enge Kapel­steeg (August 2023).

Rokin 84 – Riche

Former luxury Café-Restaurant Riche from 1883, designed by architect A.L. van Gendt in Eclectic style. Riche closed in 1913 and the building and luxurious interior were auctioned. In 1914 it housed Belgian refugees (during WWI). Fokker airplane factory headquarters were here from 1919-1934. The Dutch Royals used the top floors as pied-à-terre around the time of Queen Wilhelmina (1880-1962). Now it’s Weekday clothing store, with Gastropub Het Lagerhuys on the lower floor.

In the center the top of Rokin 84 (former Riche), Amsterdam, to the right of it Enge Kapelsteeg

In the center the top of Rokin 84 (former Riche), to the right of it Enge Kapel­steeg (August 2023).

Rokin 84, Amsterdam, at street level, entrance to Weekdays store and terrace of Het Lagerhuys

Rokin 84 at street level, entrance to Weekday store and terrace of Het Lagerhuys (August 2023).

Rokin 88-90

This bank building started out as a shop for household items. Designed by architect Jan Kuyt, the building runs through to Kalver­straat 101. The façade hides older houses, their gables demolished when this was built in 1914. Amsterdam jeweller Bonebakker (founded 1792) was here from 1954 until 2012, when they moved to the Conserva­torium Hotel on Van Baerle­straat, taking the green marble façade with them. Now Rokin 88 is an ING bank.

Rokin 92-96 – Hajenius

Cigar shop Hajenius has supplied many royal customers since 1826. This building dates from 1915 and is called De Rijnstroom. It was designed inside and out by architect brothers Van Gendt, with a beautiful and still intact Art Deco interior. The company first had a beautiful building from 1869 at the corner of Rokin and Dam square, demolished when Peek & Cloppenburg (now also Madame Tussaud’s) was built in 1914. Already discussed in an earlier blogpost: Hajenius Cigars on the Rokin.

Entrance of tobacconist P.G.C. Hajenius at Rokin 92-96, Amsterdam

Entrance of tobacconist P.G.C. Hajenius at Rokin 92-96 (February 2022).

Door and letterboxes of Rokin 92-96, Amsterdam, on the right hand side of building De Rijnstroom

Door and letterboxes of Rokin 92-96 on the right hand side of building De Rijnstroom (August 2023).

Rokin 100

Shop and home from 1903, designed by architects Jacot and Oldewelt, initially for a gentlemen’s tailor specializing in attire for the Dutch East Indies, who closed in 1925. Later it became a supplier of medical instruments until 1964. Now it’s a pancake house.

Rokin 102, Watersteeg, Rokin 100, Rokin 98, Rokin 92-96 and Rokin 88-90, Amsterdam

From left to right: Leesmuseum at Rokin 102, Water­steeg, Mama Pancake at Rokin 100, Rokin 98, De Rijnstroom at Rokin 92-96 and ING bank at Rokin 88-90 (August 2023).


The Watersteeg (Water Alley) between Rokin 100 and 102 ran from Kalver­straat directly to the water of Rokin when it was named (the Rokin did not have a quay back then).

Rokin 102 – Leesmuseum

The Leesmuseum (Reading Museum) from 1904 was designed by architect C.B. Posthumus Meyjes (who also did the Nieuwezijds Kapel). Gentlemen’s society Het Leesmuseum had been founded in 1800, to promote the reading of foreign newspapers, magazines and books. The ladies had their own library (founded in 1877) on Harten­straat. Around 1900 the society had around 1,500 members, but the numbers dwindled and they disbanded in 1932. From 1932 this was auction house Mak van Waay, acquired by Sotheby’s in 1974, who stayed until 1998. The entrance at the corner of the Water­steeg was added in 1938, designed by architect J. op ‘t Land. The narrow alley left of the building is called Lees­museum­gang (now closed off).

Rokin 104, Leesmuseum building at Rokin 102, Watersteeg and pancake house at Rokin 100, Amsterdam

Rokin 104, Leesmuseum building at Rokin 102, Watersteeg and pancake house at Rokin 100 (August 2023).

Leesmuseum building at Rokin 102, Amsterdam, looking south towards Arti

Leesmuseum building at Rokin 102, looking south towards Arti (August 2023).

Rokin 104 – Hotel Pagi

House from the first half of the 19th century, with entrance on the corner. On the right the entrance for the upper floors. Now Hotel Pagi.


Between Rokin 104 and 106 is the Taksteeg (Branch Alley). The origin of the name is unknown. Before 1565 it was known as Sint Martijns­steeg (St. Martin’s Alley).

Taksteeg, Amsterdam, viewed from Rokin towards Kalverstraat

Taksteeg, viewed from Rokin towards Kalver­straat (August 2023).

Rokin 106

House from the first half of the 19th century, the bottom part demolished.

Rokin 108-110

House from the 17th century, remodeled in the 18th and 19th century, placed transversely.

Historical blue tram in front of Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam. On the right the entrance to Spui and Rokin 108-110

Historical blue tram in from of Arti et Amicitiae. On the right the entrance to Spui and Rokin 108-110 (July 2022).

Rokin, Amsterdam, seen from corner Spui north, with historical blue tram

Rokin seen from corner Spui north, with historical blue tram (July 2022).

Rokin, Amsterdam, seen from the height of Arti and Spui, north towards Dam square

Rokin seen from the height of Arti and Spui, north towards Dam square (February 2022).

Travelers' Map is loading...
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.