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Amsterdam Oudezijds Achterburgwal: All You Need To Know in 2024

Posted on: Juli 1, 2024

Amsterdam red light district windows

Ultimate Oudezijds Achterburgwal Guide

Planning a visit to Amsterdam and craving a taste of its vibrant history, unique culture, and thrilling nightlife? Look no further than Oudezijds Achterburgwal, the captivating canal that embodies the essence of Amsterdam itself. As one of the city’s oldest and most fascinating waterways, Oudezijds Achterburgwal stands out amidst the renowned canals of Amsterdam. Its historical significance, bustling Red Light District, vibrant nightlife, rich artistic scene, and hidden local gems make it an absolute must-visit for travelers seeking an authentic and unforgettable Amsterdam experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through Oudezijds Achterburgwal, unveiling its hidden treasures and immersing you in the pulsating heart of the city. From history enthusiasts to culture lovers, night owls to intrepid explorers, Oudezijds Achterburgwal has something to offer everyone. Get ready to dive into the wonders that await along the enchanting banks of this iconic canal, as we uncover the secrets of Amsterdam’s past and present.

What Does Oudezijds Achterburgwal Means?

Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam

Oudezijds Achterburgwal is a Dutch name that can be broken down into three parts:

  1. “Oudezijds”: In Dutch, “oude” means “old” and “zijds” means “side.” Therefore, “Oudezijds” translates to “Old Side” or “Old Part.”
  2. “Achter”: “Achter” means “behind” or “back” in Dutch.
  3. “Burgwal”: “Burgwal” refers to a fortified wall or rampart that once surrounded the city.

Combining these elements, “Oudezijds Achterburgwal” can be translated as “The Old Side Behind the Rampart” or “The Old Part Behind the Wall.” It reflects the historical context of the canal, situated on the old side of Amsterdam and positioned behind the former city fortifications.

Historical Significance

Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam holds a deep historical significance, making it a must-visit location for history enthusiasts. Dating back to the 14th century, this canal is one of the oldest in the city, serving as a witness to Amsterdam’s growth and development over the centuries. As visitors stroll along the canal’s picturesque banks, they can admire the architectural marvels that line its shores. One prominent landmark is the Oude Kerk, also known as the Old Church, which dates back to the 13th century. This impressive Gothic structure is not only the oldest surviving building in Amsterdam but also stands as a symbol of the city’s heritage.

In addition to the Oude Kerk, Oudezijds Achterburgwal is adorned with a collection of historic canal houses that showcase the architectural styles of different eras. These houses, with their distinctive gabled facades and ornate details, provide a glimpse into the city’s past and the grandeur of its Golden Age. Exploring these canal houses and their interiors offers a unique perspective on Amsterdam’s history, as many of them have been converted into museums, art galleries, or boutique hotels.


de wallen website

A significant portion of Oudezijds Achterburgwal is synonymous with Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District. It is essential to approach this topic with an open and objective mindset, understanding the cultural and social dynamics at play. The Red Light District is known for its legalized sex work, which is a unique aspect of Amsterdam’s society. The area is regulated and monitored to ensure the safety and well-being of the Sexarbeiterinnen, while also providing a controlled environment for visitors.

People walking on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam while looking at window brothel on the corner of the street

Beyond its reputation, the Red Light District offers a complex tapestry of experiences. Amidst the neon-lit windows, visitors can find a variety of establishments, from traditional Dutch bars called “brown cafes” to quirky shops and even museums dedicated to the topic. It is essential to respect the privacy and dignity of the workers and approach the area with cultural sensitivity. Exploring the Red Light District allows visitors to engage with the distinct character of Amsterdam and witness how the city manages and balances diverse aspects of its culture and tourism.

Vibrant Nightlife

The front of sex show Moulin Rouge in Amsterdam with red illuminated neon advertising on the facade

Oudezijds Achterburgwal truly comes alive after dark, as it boasts a vibrant and energetic nightlife scene. From trendy clubs, tantalising Sexshows to cozy pubs, there is something for every taste. The canal is lined with a plethora of bars and clubs, each with its unique atmosphere and musical offerings. Whether you’re into electronic dance music, live jazz, or alternative rock, you’ll find a venue that suits your preferences.

Cultural and Artistic Scene

Oudezijds Achterburgwal is not just a canal filled with historical landmarks and bustling nightlife—it is also a hub for cultural and artistic expression. The area attracts a vibrant artistic community and offers a variety of galleries, studios, and exhibitions. Art enthusiasts will find plenty to explore, with numerous art galleries showcasing works from both established and emerging artists. These galleries often host rotating exhibitions, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums.

The artistic spirit of Oudezijds Achterburgwal is not confined togallery spaces alone. The streets themselves serve as a canvas for street artists, with colorful and thought-provoking murals adorning building facades and alleyways. Take a leisurely stroll along the canal, and you’ll discover hidden pockets of creativity at every turn.

The area also embraces its cultural heritage through various events and festivals. Keep an eye out for cultural celebrations and exhibitions that take place throughout the year. From local art festivals to performances celebrating Amsterdam’s diverse cultural fabric, there is always something happening along Oudezijds Achterburgwal that caters to art lovers and culture enthusiasts alike.

Top 10 Places on Oudezijds Achterburgwal

Here are 10 venues located on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in Amsterdam, including reasons to visit and one reason to avoid each:

  1. Moulin Rouge – An iconic adult entertainment venue in Amsterdam’s nightlife scene.
    • Visit for: Unique adult entertainment, Historic atmosphere.
    • Avoid if: You’re not comfortable with adult-oriented performances.
  2. Cafe Remember – Ideal for meeting other travelers right in the heart of the Red Light District.
    • Visit for: Social atmosphere, Proximity to nightlife.
    • Avoid if: You prefer a quiet, more relaxed environment.
  3. Mata Hari – Offers restaurant food at pub prices in a living-room setting.
    • Visit for: Affordable dining, Cozy atmosphere.
    • Avoid if: You’re looking for high-end dining options.
  4. Excalibur Café – Known for heavy metal and hard rock in the Red Light District.
    • Visit for: Unique music theme, Lively atmosphere.
    • Avoid if: You’re not a fan of heavy metal or loud music.
  5. Bananenbar – A surprising bar in erotic Amsterdam.
    • Visit for: Unique bar experience, Central location.
    • Avoid if: Erotic themes are not your interest.
  6. Red Light Bar – Offers a rotation of DJs, pool tables, and sports streaming.
    • Visit for: Vibrant nightlife, Sports events.
    • Avoid if: You prefer a more traditional or quiet bar environment.
  7. Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum – A tribute to cannabis in a historic setting.
    • Visit for: Educational content, Unique museum experience.
    • Avoid if: You’re not interested in cannabis culture.
  8. Hotel Torenzicht – Offers an authentic Amsterdam experience in the Red Light District.
    • Visit for: Proximity to nightlife and attractions, Authentic local experience.
    • Avoid if: You prefer a more secluded or upscale accommodation.
  9. Blauw aan de Wal – A hidden gem offering fine dining in an alley close to the Red Light District.
    • Visit for: Exquisite dining experience, Secluded location.
    • Avoid if: You have difficulty finding locations or prefer more casual dining.
  10. Hotel 83 – A comfortable and affordable hotel in the heart of Amsterdam.
    • Visit for: Affordable accommodation, Central location.
    • Avoid if: You’re looking for luxury or a quiet neighborhood.


Immerse yourself in the captivating allure of Amsterdam’s Red Light District with our exceptional audio tour! Delve into the rich history and vibrant culture of this iconic neighborhood as you stroll through its enchanting alleys. Embark on a journey that unveils the district’s fascinating secrets, from its origins to its modern-day significance. As you follow the carefully curated audio guide, you’ll experience the district’s unique blend of old-world charm and contemporary energy. And don’t miss the chance to explore the renowned Oudezijds Achterburgwal, a highlight of the tour that showcases the district’s captivating ambiance. The audio tour offers a perfect balance of informative commentary and personal stories, all at your own pace. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious traveler, or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure, our Rotlichtviertel Tour. promises an engaging and enlightening experience. Get it today!

Moulin Rouge on Oudezijds Achterburgwal

  1. Location: Moulin Rouge is located on Oudezijds Achterburgwal, a historic canal in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The exact address is Oudezijds Achterburgwal 5-7, 1012 DA in Amsterdam.
  2. History: Moulin Rouge is an iconic adult entertainment venue that has been a part of the Amsterdam nightlife scene for many years. It offers a unique experience in the heart of the city.
  3. Shows and Performances: It offers a variety of exciting shows and performances. Expect adult-themed entertainment. The shows feature talented performers and captivating music, creating an immersive and memorable experience for visitors.
  4. Admission and Reservations: To attend a show at Moulin Rouge, it is recommended to make reservations in advance. Get the best Tickets für das Moulin Rouge on our website. We are the only official online ticket supplier. Please note that Moulin Rouge has age restrictions and entry policies that visitors should be aware of before making a reservation.
  5. Cultural Sensitivity: The Red Light District, where Moulin Rouge is located, is a unique area with its own cultural and social dynamics. It is important to approach the district with an open and respectful mindset, recognizing the legal framework and regulations surrounding the adult entertainment industry. It’s crucial to respect the performers, staff, and local customs while visiting Moulin Rouge or any other establishment in the area.
  6. Nearby Attractions: Moulin Rouge is situated in a vibrant part of Amsterdam with various attractions nearby. Visitors can explore the historic streets, canal views, and iconic landmarks in the Red Light District. Additionally, there are numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants in the vicinity where you can enjoy a meal or a drink.
  7. Safety and Security: Like any busy area, it’s important to be mindful of personal belongings and take general safety precautions while exploring the Red Light District. It is recommended to stay in well-lit areas, follow any guidance from local authorities, and be aware of your surroundings.

Local Experiences & Hidden Gems

While Oudezijds Achterburgwal is known for its historical landmarks and bustling nightlife, it also offers a treasure trove of hidden gems and local experiences for visitors to uncover. Beyond the well-known attractions, there are charming cafes tucked away in quiet corners, serving up delicious pastries and a cozy atmosphere perfect for people-watching.

For those seeking a unique shopping experience, explore the independent boutiques and specialty stores that line the canal. From vintage clothing shops to quirky souvenir stores, there is a myriad of options to satisfy even the most discerning shopper. Engaging with local shop owners and artisans provides an opportunity to connect with the community and gain insights into the neighborhood’s character.

To truly immerse yourself in the local lifestyle, consider joining a guided walking tour led by knowledgeable locals. These tours often unveil lesser-known stories and anecdotes about the area, shedding light on its hidden history and cultural nuances. Exploring the lesser-explored corners of Oudezijds Achterburgwal is where you’ll find the authentic essence of the neighborhood, away from the tourist crowds.

Remember to take the time to wander the narrow streets and picturesque bridges, allowing yourself to get lost in the charm of the canal and its surroundings. Whether it’s stumbling upon a cozy neighborhood pub or discovering a quiet courtyard tucked away from the main thoroughfare, these unexpected encounters will create lasting memories of your time in Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

How long is the Oudezijds Achterburgwal?

Oudezijds Achterburgwal is approximately 560 meters (1,840 feet) long.

How old is the Oudezijds Achterburgwal?

Oudezijds Achterburgwal is one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam, dating back to the medieval period. Its exact age is difficult to determine, but it has a history that spans several centuries. The canal’s origins can be traced back to the 14th century, making it over 600 years old. Throughout its long history, Oudezijds Achterburgwal has witnessed the growth and development of Amsterdam, making it a significant and historically rich part of the city.

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