Translating from Dutch as “the nine little streets”, the neighbourhood of De Negen Straatjes lies in the centre of the capital, Amsterdam, and is renowned for its charming 17th century architecture. The streets connect the four main canals within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Grachtengordel, or “Canal Belt”, and boast a long-established legacy of craftspeople and artisans.
De Negen Straatjes includes Ree-, Harten-, Beren-, Wolven-, Oude Spiegel-, Run- and Huidenstraat, together with Gasthuismolensteeg and Wijde Heisteeg, with many of the names in reference to the old skin tanning industry of the area. Today the area is home to unique boutiques, vintage and antique shops, art galleries and an eclectic selection of cafes, bars and restaurants all draped in historical charm. There’s also a scattering of museums, including the Brilmuseum translated to Museum of Eyeglasses, and the Bijbels Museum, or Bible Museum, with the Dutch Institute for War Documentation and the European Centre for Art, Culture and Science residing within De Negen Straatjes. Cultural and literary walking tours are a good way to explore its vibrant streets, once home to both Rembrandt and dramatist Joost van den Vondel. In recent years, nearby Hazenstraat in the former bohemian hub of Jordaan has dubbed itself the Tiende Straatje, or “Tenth Street”, hoping to muscle in on the area’s success.
De Negen Straatjes are located just a short walk from Dam Square and the Royal Palace in the centre of Amsterdam, with numerous tram stops nearby. The narrow streets and canals are best explored on foot, with plenty of unique shops to discover along the way.
While the streets have been in existence since the 17th century, it wasn’t until the 1990s that a local shopkeeper came up with the idea to promote the area and increase business by dubbing it De Negen Straatjes. Many were opposed to the name at the time, but it managed to stick and has become one of Amsterdam’s most atmospheric shopping areas.