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Red Light District

Cafe in Het Aepjen

Posted on: December 1, 2023

Amsterdam's cafe Int Aepjen on the Sea Dike

Cafe In ‘t Aepjen in Amsterdam

Candles burn even during the day at this age based in a 16th-century house, which is one of two remaining wooden buildings in Amsterdam. This bar is located on the Sea Dike (or Zeedijk in Dutch), just a 5 minute walk from Amsterdam’s Central Station. The Aepje means Monkey or the Ape. In the 16th-century this was a tavern or a hostel for sailors. The seamen could always stay the night. The exterior of Cafe In ‘t Aepjen is still in the same shape as it use to be: Just plain wood! You won’t find many bars in Amsterdam that has a wooden exterior. Obviously, this is material isn’t fire best friend. So, this is main reason why wooden exteriors aren’t much around in Amsterdam.

History of Cafe In ‘t Aepjen

Café In ‘t Aepjen, nestled in the heart of Amsterdam, is a historical gem with roots tracing back to the 16th century. Originally functioning as an inn, it is one of the few remaining wooden buildings in Amsterdam, a testament to the city’s rich architectural past. The café’s name, translating to “In the Monkeys,” harks back to a time when sailors would pay for their lodgings with monkeys they brought from their voyages. This unique history is not just a tale of commerce but a slice of Amsterdam’s maritime heritage. Over the centuries, Café In ‘t Aepjen has witnessed numerous historical events and has been a silent spectator to the evolution of Amsterdam from a medieval trading city to a modern cosmopolitan hub. The walls of this establishment are steeped in stories, having hosted countless individuals, from seafarers to locals, each adding to its rich tapestry of history.

Cafe In 'T Aepjen in Amsterdam
An old picture of Cafe In ‘t Aepjen on Amsterdam’s Sea Dike. This picture was shot between 1910 and 1935.

Amsterdam's Cafe in 't Aepjen on the Zeedijk in 1986.
This is what it looked like in 1986. In a time when the Red Light District was not a safe place.

Unique Architecture and Design

Upon stepping into Café In ‘t Aepjen, visitors are immediately transported back in time. The building’s wooden structure is a rarity in Amsterdam due to past city fires leading to a ban on wooden constructions, making the café an architectural treasure. Inside, the ambiance is a blend of coziness and historical charm. Wooden beams, antique furniture, and maritime-themed artifacts adorn the space, offering a glimpse into the Dutch Golden Age. The design elements of the café are carefully preserved to maintain its authentic feel. Each corner tells a story, and the warm, dim lighting adds to the establishment’s old-world allure. This unique blend of architecture and design not only appeals to history enthusiasts but also provides a distinctive setting for enjoying a traditional Dutch beer.

Cafe In ‘t Aepjen has a washed floor in this brown café as the Dutch like to call it. Red velvet stool tops. A set of three apes in bronze stare at you. They replace the real ape a customer and sailor left behind as payment for his drinking. Since then the gimmick of the place where old theatre doors and old advertisement signs decorate the scene, together with old stone jenever bottles.

Cafe In 't Aepjen Amsterdam
The interior of Cafe In ‘t Aepjen. Old bottles of Jenever (which is Dutch gin), signs that promote portions of Dutch meat and cheese which are available for 4 Euros.

You’ll get a full glass when you order a white wine, that’s pretty nice as well!

If you wouldn’t know that this bar, located on Zeedijk 1 (Sea dike 1), is such a little treasure you’d easily walk by it. Cafe In ‘t Aepjen is definitely a special bar, which we would like to recommend to everyone! Go visit this cafe, have some typical Dutch treats, like Jenever or some cheese… And enjoy everything around you.

Amsterdam's Cafe In 't Aepjen in the Red Light District
A classic, style-full and timeless interior… A perfect place for a nice drink and a good old talk with your friends.


The inside of Cafe In 't Aepjen in the Red Light District
An old advertisement for the real Amsterdam Jenever, called “Genever”. Translated the ad says: “Schoot-An, real Jenever from the Sea Dike”

Full of vintage details, Cafe In ‘t Aepjen with a complete wooden frontage is definitely worth a visit.
If you’d stand in the street in front of this cafe, look up to see the whole building. It’s really amazing!

For the connoisseurs and only 500 yards from Amsterdam’s Central Station!


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3 Responses to Cafe in Het Aepjen

  1. Robbie says:

    Amsterdam The Barderij is stopt with schootan.

  2. […] little cages as entertainment so his guests had what to see in Amsterdam. This explains the name of Café In T’ Aepjen (Monkey). Besides a great historical setting they also serve some quality Dutch Jenever (gin). A […]

  3. Arthur Kirmss says:

    My wife and I visited there. It was very late at night, with a mist coming down. Very quiet! The place has strong historical atmosphere; we drank some Dutch beer with some cheese; I was very glad to be enjoying the really old setting!

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