Dam Square

Dam Square is the pumping heart of Amsterdam. If you visit the city, you can hardly miss it. Everyone from everywhere meets at Dam Square.

Dam Square - History

There once was a dam over the Amstel river. The settlements which surrounded this dam became the city of Amsterdam and even now Dam Square is the centre of the city.

Dam Square was open to the Amstel River on one side. Fisher’s boats, merchant’s barges, and various trading ships came and went every morning, bringing fish, spices, luxury articles, precious metals, stones, wool, silk and many other goods to Dam Square. Dam Square became an essential part of the city’s trade and was crucial in its role to make Amsterdam a wealthy city.

Dam Square - Rise in Prominence

Where the money goes, the people follow. It didn’t take long for Dam Square to become a place of national importance. The Royal Family started to use it for public announcements and open events.

Dam Square became bigger, but less important for trade, when the Amstel River was filled up in the 17th century and the Royal Palace was built. The centre of trade shifted to the northern part of  the Dam Square and the Damrak, but the political centre stayed at Dam Square with the Royal Palace. Dam Square gained importance again, when Amsterdam’s first stock market opened up right at the square.

Dam Square in WWII

In May 1945 there was a tragic event, when some Nazis fired a machine gun into a crowd of civilians and killed about 30 people.
In the seventies, Dam Square became a meeting place for Hippies.  When the city administration prohibited sleeping next to the big war memorial, out of respect for the fallen, Dam Square became quieter and cleaner again.

Modern Dam Square

Nowadays Dam Square is still a meeting place for many different people from the different backgrounds and nationalities. You can see buskers, street musicians, horse carriages, and many other people there. Several times a year, Dam Square turns into a fair, and iis a gathering place on during the holidays.

Dam Square is definitely one of the defining places for Amsterdam’s character. Make sure you have it on your visit list. Be there or be (Dam) square!

What’s On Dam Square

  • War Memorial/National Monument

  • Royal Palace

  • Madame Tussauds – Wax Sculptures

  • De Bijenkorf –  Former Stock Market

  • Street Musicians

  • Horse-drawn Carriages

Dam Square - Directions


Dam Square
1012 Amsterdam

Shelter City Hostel Amsterdam - Dam Square (a 5 minute walk)

  1. Leave the Hostel, go right, and follow Barndesteeg until you reach Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

  2. Turn left and cross the canal at the first bridge.

  3. Now just follow the street until you reach Warmoestraat, where you turn left.

  4. After 50 meters you will reach Dam Square.


Shelter Jordan Amsterdam Hostel - Dam Square (a 16 minute walk)

  1. Leave the Hostel, go right and follow Bloemstraat until you reach Prinsengracht.

  2. Turn right and cross the canal at the first bridge. The big church (Westerkerk) should now be on your left hand side.

  3. Now just follow the street you are on (Raadhuisstraat) and you will end up at the Royal Palace.

  4. Surround the palace and you are standing on Dam Square.


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Shelter City Hostel Amsterdam

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Two hostels in the city centre of Amsterdam


Shelter city Hostel Amsterdam
   Close to Central Station and Dam square
   Charming historic building
   Great courtyard/garden with lounge
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  Shelter Jordan Hostel Amsterdam
   Friendly, welcoming hostel
   In the trendy Jordan area, in the old city centre
   Closest hostel to Anne Frank House
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Most populair Hostel Amsterdam