Until 1875 it was possible to see the open water from here. All you can see now in that direction is the Centraal Station.
Martelaarsgracht was once a canal, and in 1661 a night lodging place, de Nieuwe Stadsherberg, was built on piles in the open water right here, where the canal and the open water met. It was meant especially for travellers who came from the north during the night and could not enter the city because the city gates were closed.
When the Hollandse Spoor Company opened its train station only a stones through away in 1878, it must have been a good source of income for the lodge, but only a few years later plans were made for the new Centraal Station, and new islands were built out in the open water and streets were built and also the Martelaarsgracht was drained and converted into a street in 1884.
Later, while the Centraal Station was built, the lodge was closed.
Martelaarsgracht has its name from a house that is no longer there that had a martyr on its sign.