The Dam, otherwise referred to as the Dam Square, is one of the most popular meeting points in Amsterdam and one of the most photogenic squares in Europe. The square benefits from excellent tram links and is a venue for numerous special events throughout the year, from funfairs and demonstrations to the Dutch National Memorial Day.
This area dates back to the 13th century and was originally divided into the Plaetse square and Middeldam square. A dam was built to protect the area from the Rimer Amstel, which enabled the area to develop into a prosperous trading district. Indeed, by the 1400s, Amsterdam grew to become one of the busiest maritime centres in Europe, and Dam Square became the home to the city's first town hall.
One of the most recognisable landmarks of Dam Square is the Royal Palace, which was designed at the height of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. This building is regularly used by Dutch royal figures for private functions and is known for its enormous central hall which is 60 feet wide and 120 feet long.
Another renowned landmark in the square is the De Bijenkorf department store, which was founded in 1870 and was originally an unknown haberdashery shop on the historic street of Nieuwendijk. Adjacent to the Royal Palace is the imposing 15th-century church knowns as Nieuwe Kerk which, while no longer a venue for religious services, is still hired for royal weddings and is noted for its attractive neo-Gothic features.
Other attractions in Amsterdam
The city is home to many world-class museums, one of the best known of which is the Rembrandt House Museum, the former home of the famous painter Rembrandt. Another must-see attraction is the Rijksmuseum, a national museum showcasing around 8,000 historic and artistic artefacts, although the venue actually houses around 1 million items dating back to the turn of the 13th century.
Hotels and restaurants in the area
One of the most popular hotels near Dam Square is the charming Hotel Brouwer, which has been the home of the friendly Brouwer family since 1917 and is situated in a splendid 17th-century building. For great value for money, you could also choose the sophisticated Best Western Blue Tower Hotel, which is an ideal choice for business and leisure travellers.
For some tantalising Chinese cuisine, head to the nearby Restaurant Mandarijn, or choose Hasta La Pasta for some delightful Italian dishes. For more delicious food, choose the Argentinian-themed Mas Y Mas, the wonderful Indian-themed Koh-i-Noor, or the international themed Dam Plaza, all of which are within easy reach of hotels near Dam Square.
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