The famous Jordaan district
A small tour through our beautiful area in the city and where better to start than the most authentic neighbourhood of Amsterdam, the Jordaan. Where beauty and cosiness waltzes through the streets and the history around the canals is tastefully complemented with flowers and plants. As an important part of city history – and with this it’s world history – a lot of famous stories has been written in this lovely neighbourhood just around the corner at Bistrot Neuf.
“Where beauty and cosiness waltzes through the streets and the history around the canals is tastefully complemented with flowers and plants.”
Origin of Jordan
When we experienced the Golden Age in the Netherlands, the city quickly grew literally at the seams. With the expansion of three canals in the 17th century, a prominent place to live was created for the new Amsterdammers with the typical mansions along the canal. For the hardworking “common” people, “the new Werck” was built, which we now know as De Jordaan. It was a poor neighborhood with slums and open sewers. Each room was filled with a whole family and there was no running water. Around the year 1900, about 80,000 workers lived in the Jordan, now about 20,000.
Where’s the name “Jordaan” from?
There is still much debate about the origin of the name Jordaan. Corruption is debunked by language experts and would a lost Frenchman really be the founder of the name this historic district? Below are some much-discussed explanations of the name “Jordaan”;
- The most commonly mentioned would be a derivation of the French word “Jardin”, which means garden. French writers who sought refuge in Amsterdam asked for “les jardins” as an indication, in order to find their street. The naming of the streets and the many courtyards with flower names in the Jordaan can certainly substantiate this argument.
- Another explanation refers to the word Jordicitie. A corruption of jurisdiction or jurisdiction, which included the Jordan in the 17th century. Language experts consider this the most logical corruption.
- The most likely explanation is being named after the Jordan River. Where the words of Moses, that one should not cross the Jordan, were cynically related to the poor working-class neighbourhood and the Prinsengracht. Like someone from the good, rich side should never make the crossing to the “wrong”, poor side of the water.
The Jordaan, a neighbourhood full of stories
The home and later shelter of the famous Anne Frank. The place where Multatuli wrote his famous book Max Havelaar and Rembrandt painted the Golden Age. Where many folk singers such as have written music history and where you can still dance at the authentic Tante Nol’s bar. The Jordaan has lived and is still alive. The typical Amsterdam courtyards will surprise you along the flowery streets and the Noordermarkt and the vintage bars will never lose their character. The neighbourhood is full of nice squares with restaurants and cafes and there is also plenty to do for the shoppers.
“The place where Multatuli wrote his Max Havelaar and Rembrandt painted the Golden Age. Where many Dutch folk singers wrote music history and where you can still dance at the old-fashioned Amsterdam café Tante Nol. The Jordaan has lived and is still alive”
Take a walk from Bistrot Neuf
From Bistrot Neuf you walk straight into history via the Haarlemmerstraat to the Jordaan. The “West-Indisch huis” in the Haarlemmerstraat was the headquarters of the Netherlands West India Company in the Golden Age. A century makes his name appear more beautiful than he perhaps was, but that is another subject for another time. Did you know that New York was originally called New Amsterdam? And those historical decisions about the new trading places in America were made here in the West Indies Home down the street?
Enjoy your afternoon at the Jordaan
From the Haarlemmerstraat you turn left at the canal, towards the Brouwersgracht and the Prinsengracht and you walk straight into the Jordaan. Admire the beautiful canals, bridges and streets and enjoy life in the neighbourhood. For example, drink a beer at Café Chris, the oldest pub in the Jordaan where Jordanians have hung at the bar for centuries. The story goes that the workers used to get paid at the Westertoren and regularly spent everything directly at this pub. There are so many stories about the Jordan that this is just a glimp and we will certainly write more about it. At Bistrot Neuf we are happy to tell you more about it, for a wonderful afternoon with us in the Jordaan.
The most famous song about Amsterdam and it’s canals on a annually famous canal-event: