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Amsterdam's Nieuwmarkt and the famous Waag


The Nieuwmarkt (New Market Square) is a must-see in Amsterdam!

Nieuwmarkt, a vibrant and bustling neighborhood located in the heart of Amsterdam, is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the city’s rich history, diverse culture, and lively nightlife. With its historic buildings, trendy bars and restaurants, and colorful street art, Nieuwmarkt offers something for everyone, from history buffs and foodies to art lovers and party animals. In this article, we’ll explore key subtopics that make Nieuwmarkt such a unique and exciting destination, and provide you with the information you need to plan your own visit to this fascinating neighborhood.

The History of Nieuwmarkt

In the past, the Nieuwmarkt was called St. Anthony’s Gate and it was built in 1488 but eventually became obsolete. It was then used as a weigh station for merchants. The appartments upstairs were used by local guilds, including the surgeons guild. Every once in a while they would actually dissect a freshly executed criminal, which was open for the public. They also became obsolete and eventually it became the restaurant that it is right now, called “In De Waag“. It’s located on the Nieuwmarkt Square.

Nieuwmarkt has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century when it was first established as a marketplace. It was originally a moat and city wall that surrounded the old city of Amsterdam. Over time, the moat was filled in, and the area was transformed into a bustling commercial center.

Today, Nieuwmarkt is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from around the world. The area is known for its historic architecture, including the iconic Waag building, which was once a gatehouse and is now a museum and restaurant. Visitors can also explore the many narrow streets and alleyways that lead to hidden courtyards and picturesque squares.

Top Attractions in Nieuwmarkt

Nieuwmarkt has many top attractions that visitors won’t want to miss. One of the most famous is the Waag building, which is a beautiful example of Dutch Renaissance architecture. It has served many purposes over the years, including as a weigh house, a guild hall, and a public execution site. Today, it houses a restaurant and a cultural center.

Another popular attraction in Nieuwmarkt is Chinatown, which is located on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. Here, visitors can explore the many Asian markets, shops, and restaurants that line the streets. The area is particularly lively during the Chinese New Year celebration, which includes dragon and lion dances, fireworks, and other festivities.

Finally, visitors to Nieuwmarkt should check out the weekly farmers’ market, which takes place every Saturday. Here, vendors sell a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other goods. It’s a great place to stock up on ingredients for a picnic in the nearby park or to sample some of the local delicacies.

Food and Drink Scene

Nieuwmarkt has a diverse food and drink scene that reflects the area’s multicultural heritage. Visitors can sample traditional Dutch snacks like stroopwafels and bitterballen, as well as international cuisine like Thai and Indonesian. There are also plenty of trendy cafes and bars where visitors can grab a drink and relax.

One of the best places to try traditional Dutch cuisine is at Cafe de Sluyswacht, which is housed in a historic 17th-century building. The menu features classic dishes like erwtensoep (pea soup) and stamppot (mashed potatoes and vegetables), as well as a selection of Dutch beers and genever (a traditional Dutch spirit).

For a taste of international cuisine, visitors can head to Bird Thai Snackbar, which serves up delicious Thai street food. The menu includes favorites like pad Thai, green curry, and spring rolls, as well as refreshing Thai iced tea and beer.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Nieuwmarkt has a lively nightlife scene that caters to all tastes. Visitors can enjoy a cozy drink in one of the many traditional Dutch pubs or dance the night away in one of the area’s trendy nightclubs.

One of the best places to experience the local nightlife is Cafe de Dokter, which has been serving drinks to locals and visitors alike since the 18th century. The bar is small and cozy, with a traditional decor and a friendly atmosphere. It’s a great place to try some Dutch beers or a traditional Dutch gin.

For those who prefer a more modern scene, there’s the Warehouse Elementenstraat, a massive industrial space that hosts some of the biggest dance parties in Amsterdam. The club has a state-of-the-art sound system and attracts top DJs from around the world.

Local Culture and Community

Nieuwmarkt is known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene, as well as its strong sense of community spirit. The area has a rich history of progressive politics and social activism, which is reflected in the many local initiatives and events that take place throughout the year.

One such initiative is the Nieuwmarkt Street Art Project, which showcases the work of local and international artists on the walls and buildings around the neighborhood. Visitors can take a self-guided tour to explore the many colorful murals and street art installations.

Another way to experience the local culture is to attend one of the many festivals and events that take place in Nieuwmarkt throughout the year. These include the Amsterdam Roots Festival, which celebrates world music and cultural diversity, and the annual Gay Pride Canal Parade, which passes through the nearby canals.

Overall, Nieuwmarkt is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history and architecture, food and drink, nightlife and entertainment, or local culture and community, Nieuwmarkt is a must-visit destination in Amsterdam.

On the Nieuwmarkt (New Market) you can find the most impressive of Amsterdam’s remaining city gates.

An awesome muscle car in front of the Nieuwmarkt (New Market) in Amsterdam.
An American muscle car parked just next to The Nieuwmarkt.

The Nieuwmarkt Square in Amsterdam is where the locals go to

The Nieuwmarkt is very popular among locals. Especially during the weekends. The terraces of the bars on the Nieuwmarkt are always filled with people. And yes, also during the winter! A Dutchman like to sit on terraces… On the Nieuwmarkt there is always something going on: Lot’s of bicycles, lots of people, lots of bars and restaurants. The Nieuwmarkt is definitely one of the best places in Amsterdam to do people watching.

There's always something happening on the New Market in Amsterdam, Netherlands.This is how Nieuwmarkt Square looks like in summer times.

Fun fact: That building on the picture above (The Waag) is the oldest non-religious building of Amsterdam.

How to get to New Market Square in Amsterdam?

  • Metro: Take line 51, 53 or 54 and get out at Nieuwmarkt
  • Trams:  No trams stop here.
  • By foot: It’s a 10 minute walk from Central Station and Dam Square to New Market Square. You could also join our walking tours. Our guides will take you here.

Nieuwmarkt Square in Amsterdam. Also known as New Market Square.

Fun things to do on Nieuwmarkt Square in Amsterdam

  • Go to supermarket Albert Heijn, get yourself something to drink, have a sit on a bench and enjoy the lovely view
  • Visit restaurant In De Waag, claim a seat on the terrace, order a Dutch beer or a real Dutch gin (called “Jenever”) and some bitterballen (A savoury Dutch meat-based snack, typically containing a mixture of beef or veal.
  • Have an ice-cream at Tofani and go people watching.

During our Red Light District Tour, you get to see Nieuwmarkt and the Waag as well. Our local guides will point out which bars and restaurants are most popular among locals. It’s always good to know which places are nice to visit, right? Our guides will also give you a short history lesson about this place.


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