Rembrandtplein (27)

A key site in the city’s fortification, a butter fair and, lastly, a centre for night-time leisure; there is only one place in Amsterdam with such a varied history and that is Rembrandtplein. 

In fact, this extensive rectangular square was strategic in Amsterdam’s system of fortifications in the city’s early history. In the fifteenth century, with the enlargement and construction of new canals and their arrangement in a half-moon shape, the square suddenly became a lot more central.

The Rembrandtplein used to be the site of two important buildings that no longer exist. One of them, the Weigh House, was in the centre of the square and one of the pillars of the city’s commerce in its golden century. The other was the Reguliersmarkt building where butter was sold and popular festivals and dances held. 

It was in 1876 that the square was renamed after the famous Dutch painter. As Rembrandtplein, it did not immediately lose its function as a market, although it gradually became a zone of leisure for the city. 

In the nineteenth century, however, trade did not cease and Rembrandtplein remained a very lively square, as businesses and establishments were joined by an increasing number of cafés, restaurants and terrace bars where people could enjoy a moment of relaxation in the increasingly hectic city life. 

Although the Weigh House building no longer exists, you may admire the bronze statue of Rembrandt in the centre of the square. Wrapped in a cloak, the artist is gazing at Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter, the place where he lived much of his life and experienced his best creative and personal times until the time he went bankrupt and had to move to the Jordaan district. 

The Rembrandtplein has not deteriorated with time; quite the opposite has happened. It is currently a focal point of the city’s nightlife. 

It is difficult to take a walk in this tree-lined square without coming across a café, a bar, or a coffee shop. Its good atmosphere, diverse premises and central location make it highly recommendable.

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