Visit Holland - The Netherlands
The ties between Germany and Amsterdam are almost as old as the Netherlands capital city itself. In 1323, Amsterdam was given the right to levy tolls on imported beer and the city became the centre of the thriving beer trade with Hamburg. The beer traders from Hamburg may well have been the first foreigners in the fledgling city of Amsterdam. Since 1600, Amsterdam has been a favourite tourist destination for German visitors, which becomes apparent from many travel journals. German visitors are still ranked at an honourable third place on the Amsterdam Tourist Barometer.
Hamburger Kapel in the Oude Kerk
Between 1494-1509, the Oude Kerk was extended with the Hamburger Kapel, a chapel commissioned by the Hamburg tradesmen who had come to settle in Amsterdam. The vault of this chapel still shows the Hamburg city coat of arms held by two lions, as put up in 1905. The chapel is to the right of the main organ and in it lies buried, among others, Paulus Wirtz. He was born in Holstein and later served in the Swedish army. In 1668 he was appointed field marshal in the Dutch army. He died in Hamburg in 1676, but was interred in the Oude Kerk three years later and was given a commemorative plaque on the wall.
Decorative stone gable tablets of German cities
It was not until the beginning of the 18th century that the houses in Amsterdam were numbered. Before that time, the addresses of the houses were marked by their names depicted on decorative stone tablets on the façades. Of the thousands of stone tablets from the 17th and 18th century, over eight hundred have remained. Some of them refer to German cities, because in many instances the person living in the house was originally from that particular city, or had business interests there.
Bad Bentheim: at Bethaniënstraat 45, on the side facade of the house on the corner with Kloveniersburgwal a castle is depicted. The bottom border reads: 'Int huys te Bentem' (in the house in Bentem) and the castle Bentheim in Bad Bentheim is depicted. See also the stone in the Sint Jacobsstraat 40.
Berlin: under the cornice at the top of the gable of Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 276 the name of the German capital can be found.
Heidelberg: the gable stone 'T Heydelberghs Vadt' at Nieuwezijds Kolk 12 dates from circa 1750. It depicts the famous barrel (vadt) from the Heidelberg Castle and, quite appropriately, adorns the façade of an ancient cafe. The fame of this enormous wine barrel, with a content of 236,000 bottles of wine, apparently had also made its way to Amsterdam.
Münster: the gable at the Hasseltsteeg 35 shows the stone 'T wapen van Munster' (the Munster crest).
Oldenburg: ‘D Stadt Oldenburg 1728’, a view of this city, Monnikenstraat 12
Osnabrück: Gable stone at Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 66, with a reference to the city Osnabrugge.
Ulm: ‘D Stadt Ulm 1672’, a view of the city Ulm, can be seen on the
stone tablet of the Amsterdam Museum, Sint Luciënsteeg.
Wesel: the stone tablet 'D stat Wesel' (the city of Wesel) at the Monnikenstraat 19 depicts the silhouette of this city in the 17th century.
At Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 13-23 is a row of 17th century warehouses named after six Rhineland cities (stat). The names are at the top of the gables: 'De stat Colln', 'De stat Coblenz', 'De stat Maintz', De stat Francfurt', 'De stat Bonn', and 'De stat Mannheim'. The first four depict the silhouettes of these cities; the other two have to settle with a mere reference to their names. The intensive trading relationship between Amsterdam and the Rhineland started as early as the 17th century. The warehouses have now been converted into apartments.
Coats of arms of five German cities on the façade of the Central Station
The façade of Amsterdam’s Central Station is adorned with the coats of arms of fifteen European cities, each depicted on colourful enamelled tiles of about 1 x 1 metre wide. The titles represent the most important foreign cities that were connected to Amsterdam by rail at the end of the 19th century. Germany, with five cities mentioned is represented best by far. Between London and Saint Petersburg you will find Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich. They are all part of the lavish decorations of the station that opened in 1889 and was considered to be a ‘triumphal arch of transport’ at the time. Nowadays over fifty trains enter the station on a daily basis, among which are ICE trains from these German cities. After having been under construction for many years, Central Station will have been restored to much of its former glory around 2015.
Dwelling of Heinrich Schliemann, discoverer of Troy
At Keizersgracht 71, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) used to live. He settled in Athens in 1868 and two years later he started his excavations in Asia Minor, where he discovered the remains of ancient Troy.
The ‘Germany House
At the Amsterdam Roemer Visscherstraat, you can make a tour of seven European countries within a minute. At number 20 the ‘Germany’ House is located; a house with Gothic arches inspired by the romantic German architecture. It has been there since 1894, together with houses from six other countries. From left to right they are France, Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. This ‘United Europe’, also known as the ‘Zevenlandenhuizen’ (Seven Country Houses) was designed by architect Tjeerd Kuipers (1858-1942) with the intention to depict the history of European architecture. The Roemer Visscherstraat is in the Museumkwartier, the district between Leidseplein and Vondelpark.
Café Brecht, a Berlin living room cafe At Weteringschans 157, a Berlin-style living room cafe is located, named after the German writer Berthold Brecht. It is decorated with table lamps, old armchairs and grandmother tea cups. Even wool and knitting needles are available. Brecht is opened daily from noon to after midnight and all day long bread, cake and delicious treats are being served – and of course German beers and trendy German soda drinks are also available.
Lunchroom Brezel for super fresh pretzels
At Sarphatistraat 42A, corner Wibautstraat, Lunchroom Brezel is located for all people fond of German pretzels. They are baked fresh every day: all natural ingredients with just salt, with cheese and cumin or with pumpkin seeds. In addition to other German products, they also sell Mediterranean salads, filled rolls and traditional Dutch ‘pannenkoeken’ (pancakes). For breakfast and late lunch open: 7:30am-4.30pm, Saturdays 8.30am-4pm.
Concept store Klein Berlijn
Klein Berlijn (Little Berlin) calls itself an ode to Berlin. The shop sells vintage clothing, handmade jewellery, curiosities and art. You can buy and drink a fresh cup of tea. After the success of the Amsterdam-West (Admiraal de Ruijterweg 9) store, another branch opened in the Eastern part of town: Middenweg 36.
Berlin tram at the Museumtramlijn
Amsterdam has a Museumtramlijn (Tramway Museum) offering rides to citizens of Amsterdam and tourists on Sundays from April until the end of October. The tramways are used by historic trams from Amsterdam, other Dutch cities and also from abroad. The collection also boasts a tram from Berlin.
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