The Begijnhof is an enclosed courtyard dating from the early 14th century.
Nothing survived of the earliest dwellings, but the Begijnhof,
which is cut off from Amsterdam's traffic noice,
still retains a sanctified atmosphere.
The Begijnhof was originally
built as a sactuary for the Begijntjes, a Catholic sisterhood who lived like nuns,
although they took no monastic vows.
The beautiful houses overlook its well-kept green garden, include
the Amsterdam's oldest surviving house
Het Houten Huis dating from around 1420.
On the adjoining walls, there is a fascinating collection of wall plaques with biblical theme.
Southern fringe of the square is dominated by the
Engelse Kerk (English Church) which dates
from the 15 century and possesses its original medieval tower.
Houses in Begijnhof are still occupied by single women, so please respect their privacy and be quiet.
The Begijnhof Chapel (No. 29 and 30), a clandestine church, was completed in 1680.
It contains many reminders of the Catholic past.
The Begijnhof history
It is unclear when exactly the Begijnhof was
established. According a document the Beguines lived in 1346 in a house called "Beghynhuys".
Later, in 1389, in a privileged letter there is mention of a courtyard.
Nowadays Begijnhof is one of Amsterdam's top 10 attractions.
Is open daily 8:00-17:00.
Civic Guards Gallery (Schuttersgalerij)
A part of the exhibit of the Amsterdam Historical Museum, consists of an impressive gallery of old portraits of the important citizens of Amsterdam - men and women. In a high, naturally lit corridor, big 17th century paintings were exhibited. The gallery is accessible to all visitors from the Begijnhof via a huge glass, located at the far end of the courtyard. Leave the Begijnhof and immediately take left to the Gedempte Begijnesloot dead end street. The entry to the gallery is free.