Translating as “Canal Belt West”, Grachtengordel-West is an atmospheric neighbourhood of gabled townhouses and 17th-century canals near central Amsterdam. It forms part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal ring and is renowned for its buildings dating back to the Dutch Golden Age.
Things to do in Grachtengordel-West
Dominating the neighbourhood’s skyline is the magnificent Westerkerk, which was built in a Dutch Renaissance style in the 1620s on the designs of Hendrick de Keyser. It is the largest church constructed for Protestants in the Netherlands and houses an impressive 17th-century organ built by Roelof Barentszn Duyschot.
A short walk away is one of Grachtengordel-West’s most famous buildings, Anne Frank House, where the young Jewish writer hid from the Nazis during World War II. It has now been transformed into a museum, with displays about Anne Frank’s life and the impacts of persecution around the globe. Preserved is the “secret annex” where she and her family hid for just over two years before the house was raided.
Fashionistas can make a beeline for the Negen Straatjes (“Nine Little Streets”), which are clustered with designer boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Also within the district is the Dutch Institute for War Documentation and the Huis Marseille Museum for Photography with its Louis XIV-styled room. At the waterside Museum Het Grachtenhuis, you can learn about the history of Amsterdam’s canals and their role in the city’s development.
Getting around Grachtengordel-West
Grachtengordel-West is just 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of Amsterdam and 20 minutes’ drive from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Long-distance trains connect to nearby Amsterdam Central railway station and trams travel through the neighbourhood. Most of Grachtengordel-West’s attractions can be accessed on foot.