A sickly sweet odor

Jordaan and the Jewish Quarter were most affected. People lived in indescribable misery, and the lack of any hygiene made things worse. Wherever you looked there were dreadful piles of excrements and waste, and the walls were drenched in urine. The stench was unbearable wherever the tidal waves of the sea did not reach. Diseases […]

The very first of the Dutch kings

The continental blockade against England had completely stopped all trade and as a result the industry collapsed.  The only people who more or less were okay financially were the beer brewers, because the economic stagnation had brought the prices for wine outside of peoples reach.   When General Molitor on November 14th 1813 had to […]

About Amsterdam, and Louis and Napoleon Bonaparte

In the 18th century the discontent with the oligarchy of the rulers was rising and the public opinion was growing that the citizens themselves should have the power to govern. It was clear that a new era was coming; times in which ordinary citizens demanded greater influence on society.   The disgruntled citizens were called […]

The plantation

For a long time the area we now know as Amsterdams plantation district was a shaded green area, where the cities inhabitants came to stroll and enjoy peace and quiet. Here the building of stately houses only began in the early nineteenth century, and there are no channels. The channel ring was not completed here […]

About being poor in Amsterdam in olden days

Cold winters in the ‘good old days’ were hell for the poor people in Amsterdam.  Many did not survive them. The winter cold that did set in on January 1rst 1763 was a good example. Jacob Bicker Raye is one of Amsterdams inhabitants, probably no one would remember, if it wasn’t for his diaries. He […]

Amsterdams Jordaan

Around 1650 the city had got a facade that fittet its status as Europe’s mistress. The new city hall, the building that’s now the Royal Palace on the Dam, was inaugurated with great festivities in 1655, and the building was truly a palace. On the outside of the Prinsengracht the poor were living though, those […]

Besieged by governor Willem II

Amsterdam was ministered by an oligarchy of patrician families who shared the public offices and resources among themselves. Until 1824 all strings of power were in the hands of four mayors, whose decisions about the distribution of offices were final. Their power went far beyond Amsterdams city borders, and they had great influence on the […]

Amsterdam just grew and grew

The flood of new residents meant an explosive growth in population. In 1570 Amsterdam had 30,000 inhabitants, but the closing of the Scheldt in 1585 made thousands of Flames move to Amsterdam. Spanish and Portuguese Jews followed the same path together with Jews from Eastern Europe. In 1600 Amsterdam had 50,000 inhabitants, but the number […]

Amsterdam as a safe harbor for refugees

The big economic boom acted as a magnet for people everywhere in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, and immigrants flocked to the city to seek their fortune.   Louis de Geer was one of those refugees, who arrived in 1615. His father moved from Liege to Holland to give his children a better future, […]

Filled to the rim with grain

In the middle of the 16th century Warmoesstraat, which today is bathed in the light of the red light district, still was Amsterdams mainstreet. Representatives of various important foreign interests resided here. Like for instans Adriaen Pauw, a merchant in the service of the Danish king and Jaspar Craeck, who was the agent of a […]