Dam Square (Dam Plein) is the central square of Amsterdam. It is the starting point for many of the city’s attractions. Dam means “dam” in Dutch and indeed, there was no square there, but a dam. Its origins date back almost 800 years. At that time, the Amstel River flowed between the present Royal Palace and the Krasnopolsky Hotel, and the first settlements in the area were established on both sides of the river. As they grew, a bridge was needed to connect the two banks, so it was decided to build a dam in 1250.
Every year on the Day of the Missing, which falls on May 4, Queen Beatrix lays flowers at the memorial to the victims of World War II. Between 1969 and 1970, the steps below the monument, as well as the entire square, were a central meeting point for hippies.
Dam Square is now the site of many cultural events and activities. A funfair comes here from time to time.
Video evolution from 1578 to 2020
Besides the aforementioned national monument from 1956, the 15th century Nieuwe Kerk church, which is no longer sacred but hosts various art exhibitions, is worth seeing. Next to the square is the Royal Palace (formerly the city hall), and on the other side is the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. It is interesting to note that this hotel was founded by a Pole from Kiev. Businessman Krasnapolsky bought the New Polish Café located there and in 1880 transformed it into a luxury hotel. On Dam Square, don’t miss the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Figures Museum. Also visit the Bijenkorf department store, the largest in the Netherlands. Here you can buy not only clothes and shoes of exclusive brands, but also all fashion accessories, jewelry and food. The former post office building, now a shopping center, is also worth a visit.
You can also enjoy watching and listening to street artists, actors, etc.
At the end of the tour, you can take a carriage ride from the Nieuwe Kerk church. You can choose between four routes: through the old town, along the canals or through the Red Lantern Quarter or the Jordaan.