Brouwersgracht: Amsterdam’s most beautiful street?
Brouwersgracht is one of the most famous canals in Amsterdam. The magnificent canal houses were built mostly during the Dutch Golden Age. In 2007, readers of ‘Het Parool’, the best known newspaper of Amsterdam, voted Brouwersgracht as the most beautiful street in Amsterdam.
Brouwersgracht is situated in the Northwestern part of the Amsterdam city center, and in the Northern part of the Jordaan neighborhood. Brouwersgracht connects Singel and Singelgracht, two other famous canals in Amsterdam. Not surprisingly, Brouwersgracht (literal English translation: Brewerscanal) refers to the many breweries which were situated here during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries. This resulted in the construction of many ‘pakhuizen’ (warehouses) for the storage of goods. Nowadays these warehouses are being used as homes, often sold at high prices and home to several famous Dutch.
Brouwersgracht: home to many canal houses
Brouwersgracht, being one of Amsterdam’s most famous canals, is home to many beautiful canal houses. No less than 133 of those canal houses are official national heritage sites. The buildings below are most worth visiting.
Brouwersgracht 20: the building with a neck
Brouwersgracht 20 was built in the Eighteenth century. It immediately catches your attention because of the relatively small size of the building. It is famous for its halsgevel (neck-gable): the front of the building looks like a neck. Contrary to many other canal houses in this neighborhood, Brouwersgracht 20 has always been inhabited by residents.
Brouwersgracht 174: three becomes one
This triple-warehouse is most famous for the coat of arms of Amsterdam, which you can see on the front of the building. Building this warehouse took quite a while: from the Seventeenth until the Nineteenth century. In 1894 Brouwersgracht 174A was partly destroyed by a huge fire. Amsterdam municipality records state that firefighters had to use twenty fire hoses to extinguish the fire. Sadly, one floor of the building was lost due to this fire.
Brouwersgracht 188-196: put your shutters on!
These warehouses are characteristic for the Brouwersgracht building style. They all got their own names, like Koning David (King David), De David (The David), de Groene Valk (the green hawk), de Grauwe Valk (the bleak hawk) and de Appel (the apple). All those canal houses were built in 1636. Don’t miss the beautiful window shutters on some of the canal houses. The shutters were used to prevent too much sunlight coming in, because some spices needed a certain regulated indoor environment. The shutters were easy to open and therefore it was easy to get the delivered goods inside.
De Ooievaar, on the corner of Brouwersgracht and Driehoekstraat
Thirsty people longing for a drink should not miss the opportunity to visit ‘De Ooievaar’ (The Stork), a famous pub and brewery. It’s the last Jenever (Dutch gin) and liqueur distillery still running in Amsterdam. De Ooievaar, which was founded in 1782, is still the favorite spot for liqueur and jenever fans. While enjoying a canal cruise, don’t forget to get off the boat and enjoy one (or more) of the seventeen jenevers or sixty liqueurs available.
More places worth visiting
- Café Tabac, situated on the corner of Brouwersgracht and Prinsengracht
- Café Thijssen, Brouwersgracht 107
- West Indisch Huis (former headquarter of Dutch West India Company), situated on the corner of Brouwersgracht and Herengracht
Discovering Amsterdam by boat is the best way to get a good impression of all the beauty the city has to offer. The Canal Bus brings you to the nicest places in Amsterdam, like Brouwersgracht. You don’t have to book your tickets in advance. Another great option is to rent a Canal Bike. You can rent those Canal Bikes from different spots in the city. This video takes you on a tour to Brouwersgracht: