The Begijnhof lies hidden away from the noisy shopping street Kalverstraat, next to the Amsterdam Museum. Most of the houses ... More
Begijnhof en Kapel
The Begijnhof lies hidden away from the noisy shopping street Kalverstraat, next to the Amsterdam Museum. Most of the houses in the area were built in the 17th century; the oldest house in Amsterdam made of wood, dating from 1475, is also here. Wooden houses slowly disappeared because the city forbade their construction in order to prevent fire in the densely populated inner city. The courtyards were created by small religious communities in an attempt to retreat from the world and live their own isolated and devoted lives. The Begijnen - a Catholic order - was only tolerated after the Reformation in the 16th century. Only single women are allowed in the Begijnhof to lead the life of a nun.
Walking through Amsterdam is great in itself, but at moments you wish everyone would be silent for a moment, giving you the possibility to ponder over things happening in your life, or just enjoying the view without the noise.
The Begijnhof is such a place, right in the heart of busy Amsterdam. A place with history, perfect for a photo-stop without having to worry that everyone else walks in front of YOUR camera.
But at the same time it is a place, where people when they enter the chapel, sit down and in thoughts go to their friends and relatives at home. Maybe far away, being a tourist or an international student in The Netherlands.
A place to close your eyes, shut out the world for a moment, and say a silent prayer.
For Catholics the place has a very special meaning (a place for pilgrimage), for others it may just be a quiet place to rest from their all day walk through this historic city. Whatever reason brings you there, God welcomes everyone, no matter what denomination or no denomination at all.
And yes, almost every American President of the last 50 years has been here, so don't forget to take your own picture here in front of the English Church.
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