Dam Square is Amsterdam’s beating heart. Nowadays Dam Square in contrast with the old days it is now a very peaceful square which is home to scores of pigeons and street performers.
- Dam Square is the most important square in Amsterdam.
- Admire the National Monument, Royal Palace and New Church.
- Enjoy street artist performances.
Dam Square has had a turbulent history. Around 1270 a damn was constructed in this spot in the river Amstel. Dam Square was once the central marketplace of Amsterdam where literally everything under the moon was sold.
Protests and violence at Dam Square
In 1535 the square was the scene of the Anabaptists’ riots. Less than a century later the loot of the silver fleet was the reason for a revolt. The troubles that erupted because the employment benefits were decreased in 1935, also focused on this square. Towards the end of the Second World War German soldiers killed innocent citizens here during a gruesome shoot-out. In the 1960s and the 1970s students protests took place here, as did the demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. It has been quiet on Dam Square in the past few decades. The latest riots were as long ago as 1980 on the occasion of HRH Queen Beatrix’ investiture in Nieuwe Kerk.
The National Monument on Dam Square was unveiled on 4 May 1956. It was erected in remembrance of those who died during World War II. Each year on 4 May many dignitaries, including representatives of the royal family, commemorate the victims of the Second World War here.
The Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam are also situated at Dam Square. Other nearby highlights are the red light district, the narrowest house in Amsterdam at Singel 7 and the shopping mall Magna Plaza.