I’m a native of this city, an Amsterdammer, born and raised here. Am I proud of that? Well, let me put it this way, I consider myself lucky to have been born in such a lively city with such wonderful architecture, but I can also understand people who are glad to be home once more in their quiet little town or village after having spent a day in the city.
One of our favourite areas is the Jordaan district; this area is sacred to every Amsterdammer; it’s the city’s cultural heart, it’s where all the great crooners were born, it’s a maze of alleys, canals and bridges with the western church and more important it’s tower known as the Wester Tower as it’s a main architectural landmark. The area is literally strewn with small pubs, bars and restaurants. On the east, it’s the border. It is formed by the Prinsengracht (Prince’s canal) with the Ann Frank house; on the south side, we have the Rozengracht with the western church and tower; this canal has been filled up and is now a big thoroughfare leading out to the western districts of the city. On the west side, there is the Nassau kade (another canal), and its northern border is formed by the Haarlemmer Plein (Haarlemmer square and old city gate and leading from it the trendy Haarlemmerstraat (Haarlemmerstreet.)
The easiest way to reach the area is either from Dam square, walk to the back of the royal palace, enter the Raadhuisstraat ( that’s the big one that seems to proceed from the palace, and you’ll soon see the contours of the westertoren, pass it, cross the bridge and turn right. Another approach is from the central station, either walk the length of the Haarlemmerstraat 10-15 minutes or take bus 18, 21 or 22. The area is also accessible by tram nr 3.
One of my favourite places in the Jordaan is called de driehoek (the triangle). It’s located between the Lijnbaansgracht and palmgracht and not that easy to find. Once there, however, you’ll imagine yourself back into the fifties with your auntie Bev hanging out of the window. There’s that old wooden cottage at the back that makes you think you’re in an episode of Dr Who.
There’s a brewery on location; sadly, it’s been closed down; there are old warehouses and a beautiful little courtyard. This old little nook of the city has a somewhat criminal past as this was here were quite a bit of illegal trading took place in former years.
The Palmgracht is, as it were the guardian of this area, it’s an oasis of peace on which very little business takes place, a real residential street.
Below is a map of the triangle; the Jordaan has a North and a South part, the triangled is in the Northern area. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s not that easy to get to. It’s only accessible from within the district; that’s probably why it’s kept its charm and old fashioned atmosphere. The Triangle is, in fact, the oldest part of the Jordaan quarter.
If you’re not coming from the city centre, take tram 3 to the Willemstraat and turn northwards on the Lijnbaansgracht, or get off a stop later on the Haarlemmerplein and enter the Jordaan by way of the Brouwergracht.
Several buses stop at the Haarlemmerplein, among them buses 18,21 and 22. it’s only four stops from Central station.
You can also walk from Central station; it will take three minutes from the station to the beginning of the Brouwergracht and then another ten minutes to the Triangle.