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Begijnhof

Listed under Squares, Streets & Urban Spaces in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Photo of Begijnhof
Photo by flickr user stephenrwalli
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Could it be that this hidden courtyard of cottages has lasted since the 14th Century because it housed pious women – members of the community known for keeping house properly?

The green grass and trees of the courtyard are a metre below the rest of Amsterdam at medieval street level and within the central ring of Amsterdam’s canal system and the houses are tall – averaging seven storeys, and there are 47 houses opening on to the courtyard. Some of them have been done up and re-dressed in facades from the 17th or 18th Centuries but some are still Gothic and most still have the original structure underneath. The oldest is wooden – one of only two wooden houses in Amsterdam. Built around 1470 it’s probably the oldest house in Holland. Just like a tiny village the Begijnhof also has a tiny medieval church which the old inhabitants – who were almost nuns but not quite – would have attended daily before tending to the garden of flowers – which also survive.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

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