Dam Square has been an important part of the history of Amsterdam for centuries. A favorite meeting place for locals and tourists alike, Dam Square brings together many of the cities historical monuments, attractions and buildings. This makes the square a must see for those that are visiting the city.
The Zuiderzee Sea was an overflowing body of water in the 13th century. Residents of Amsterdam were fearful that the sea would flood the town so the dam was built. In 1270 the dam created the very first link between the small settlements that had formed along the water.
As the years went on, the town began to grow. Businesses and buildings began to sprout up and the dam became a gathering place for locals. This made the Dam Square as we know it today. In addition, its popularity grew and with that came festivals and special events on the grounds. Fresh markets were built and ships used the dam to dock and unload goods that supplied the town. At the height of the Hippie Movement, Dam Square became an important part of the culture. Hippies from around the world came here for fellowship and to see famous entertainers at the time.
Dam Square lies at the center of Amsterdam’s historical district. Within walking distance from the major transportation station, the rectangular shaped square stretches for over 300 feet from top to bottom. Its proximity to the Amstel River makes the Dam important for linking populated streets and forming endpoints for others.
Dam Square is the perfect tourist destination. The variety of local cafes, restaurants and retail boutiques make it a one stop shop. The Royal Palace, constructed in the 17th century, is also located here and once served as the home to Amsterdam’s royal family. The royal family no longer lives here, but visitors may explore the inside of the palace on designated days.
The square is also the home to the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky which was built in the late 1800’s. This luxury hotel is the largest in the Netherlands and boasts of very high profile clientele. The hotel’s three five star restaurants are also very popular amongst visitors to the city. Near the hotel, visitors to the square may also wish to enjoy the National Monument. Built in the 1950’s to pay homage to World War II victims, the monument is adorned with white sculptures.
Next to the Royal Palace sits the Nieuwe Kerk. This church was built in the 1400’s, but due to a fire had to be restored a few centuries later. The church’s beautiful architectural design has made it a popular structure for weddings and important political events. The stained glass windows and classical style make it one of the most visited attractions in the square.
Dam Square has become a cultural mecca for Amsterdam. From holiday festivals to huge fairs the square seems to always have something to see or do. Whether it is enjoying a bit of history from the Netherlands, sightseeing or visiting the world renowned Madame Tussad’s Wax Museum, the Dam Square has something for everyone.