Begijnhof: A Hidden Piece of Amsterdam History


Amsterdam has a long and storied history. Every single spot has its own story to tell. One of these places is Begijnhof, a hidden courtyard near the center of Amsterdam. Begijnhof is one of the oldest courtyards in Amsterdam and has a fascinating history.

History of Begijnhof

Begijnhof is one of the most atmospheric and historic places in Amsterdam. This hidden courtyard is a haven of peace and tranquility surrounded by beautiful old buildings. It was once home to a beguine community of women who dedicated their lives to God but did not take vows or live in convents.

These women lived a life of chastity and poverty. It was founded in the early 14th century as a refuge for poor women known as Beguines. These women were not allowed to marry and devoted their lives to prayer and good works. In the 16th century, Begijnhof became a home for Catholic widows and orphans.

begijnhof in amsterdam garden

Today, it is still an active religious community with a small chapel at its center. It is surrounded by old buildings, including a 15th-century Gothic chapel. Begijnhof is definitely worth a visit on a visit to Amsterdam.

What is there to see in Begijnhof?

Begijnhof is home to a number of historic sites, most notably the 15th-century Begijnhuisje, or Beguine House. This brick building is the only remaining example of the type of dwelling built for the Beguines, lay women dedicated to a religious life.

The house has a small garden and is now a museum. Begijnhof is also home to the English Reformed Church, founded in the 17th century by English refugees fleeing religious persecution. The church has beautiful stained glass windows and an ornate pulpit.

begijnhof in amsterdam sculpture

The Houten Huis, or Wooden House, is another important building in Begijnhof. This 17th century building was originally built as a stable but was later converted into a residence. It is one of the few remaining wooden buildings in Amsterdam and is now used as an office for social workers.

How to get to Begijnhof?

Assuming you are coming from the center of Amsterdam, the best way to get to Begijnhof is on foot. From Dam Square, walk south on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal until you reach the intersection with Kalverstraat and then walk south until you reach Spui square. From Spui, Begijnhof is very close. Museumplein is also about a 20 minute walk away.

Know these things before you go to Begijnhof

Add Begijnhof to your must-see list when visiting Amsterdam. This historic courtyard is one of the most charming and tranquil spots in the city. Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit:

  • Arrive early or late in the day to avoid the crowds. Begijnhof is a popular tourist destination, so it can get quite crowded during peak hours.
  • Take your time to explore. There is so much to see in this small area, from the picturesque houses and gardens to the ancient church at its center. Give yourself plenty of time to wander around and see everything.
  • Don’t miss the secret garden. Tucked behind one of the buildings, this quiet spot is well worth seeking out.
  • Learn about the history of Begijnhof before you go. This 800-year-old residential neighborhood has an interesting story to tell and understanding its origins can make your visit even more enjoyable.

Begijnhof is a beautiful and historic spot in Amsterdam that should not be missed by travelers. It is a great place to learn about the history of the city and get an idea of what life was like centuries ago. The buildings and gardens are well maintained, which makes for a peaceful stroll even in the middle of a busy city. Begijnhof is definitely worth a visit.

KAÇIRMA: Museum Van Loon