Nieuwmarkt has an above average violent crime rate and a high property crime rate for Amsterdam.
This bustling neighborhood, just east of the Red Light district, is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam. Since the 17th Century it’s been a popular spot for both trade and socializing. Many of the bars in the area are still in business from those days. The dominant building — a city gate turned into a weigh house — on Nieuwmarkt square is even older. It was built in the 15th Century.
Because of its proximity to the old harbor and its role in the history of Amsterdam’s trade, this area has always been a mix of nationalities.
Since the early 20th Century, the streets and canal north of Nieuwmarkt saw an influx of Chinese and other Asian immigrants resulting in the first Chinatown in mainland Europe. This is still evident in the many Chinese and Asian restaurants and shops on both Geldersekade and the busy Zeedijk, making it a staple foodie destination. There is even a Buddhist temple and street signs are in both Dutch and Chinese.
A sadder page in Nieuwmarkt’s history is that the square was used by the Nazis to round up Jewish residents that lived here before they got deported.
The canals and main square aside, most streets here are narrow, as are the homes. Tiny apartments above shops and restaurants and quite a lot of 70s and 80s social housing make up most of the housing stock here. Larger apartments can be found in the more stately building along the canals.
Just off the main square, and in the side streets of the busier streets and canals leading to it, one might stumble upon narrow mews. Often these are locked with gates only residents can open, making them quiet little oases amidst the hustle and bustle that is happening outside.
Don’t expect lovely courtyards like in the Jordaan or the famous Begijnhof here. But some of the larger buildings on the canal might have a small patio in the back. Other than that, outside space is a rare find here. It's not an ideal spot for those with kids, but those with a liking for amazing food and great nightlife will love it here.
Despite being coined Chinatown, Nieuwmarkt should be called Asia-town as there is also an abundance of Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian shops and restaurants here. This fusion of cultures is reflected in the kitchen of A-fusion. Bites and dishes from all Asian kitchens meet on one menu. Their bubble tea is a not-to-miss treat that comes in all kinds of flavors. The crowd is a mix of young, trendy people from all over.
This large Buddhist temple opened in 2000. HRH Princess Beatrix was present in her then role as Queen. This marked a first in Buddhist history worldwide as she was the first royal to openly support and recognize Buddhism. There are scheduled tours on Saturday at 14.00, 15.00 and 16.00 hours.
Built as a city gate and then repurposed as a weigh house and then an oil lamp factory, Fire station, furniture workshop and city archive, it now houses a restaurant and Waag Society. The latter is an institute for art, science and technology. Check out their calendar for inspiring lectures, workshops, and special events
While you'll find lovely food and drinks here, that's not all on sale: you can also purchase the chair you sit on, the plate you get your lunch served on, as well as much of the décor around you. It’s hard to keep your wallet closed here! Great place to score something for your new Amsterdam home.
In 1927, Bet van Beeren took over a bar that was run by her uncle. She renamed it ‘t Mandje, meaning little basket. Bet, a lesbian herself, made sure that her bar would be a safe place for LGBTQ people in a time where this was anything but accepted. To warn her guests of police or suspicious straight people (called ‘owls’ by her) she would light a small owl shaped lamp behind the bar. The bar closed its doors in 1982, to be reopened by Bet’s niece in 2008. It’s still a favorite for the LGBTQ community, but straight people are welcome too.
Photo Credits: Thanks to @aboutamsterdam, @tulipwaves, @ossidiseppia, @any__way, @marcellodlucas, @thelightsanddreams, @kevinschijvenaars, @mennoswart1, @sundy0404, @f1im_f1am, @harriet.louisee, @djvukadin, @_david0361, @isipandaa, @chiara_politeo, @alexdjordjevic1, @esmeeness, @ale_di_chio for your great photos of this neighborhood!