The Damrak is the original mouth of the Amstel river – rak being a reach (straight stretch of water). The river flowed from a lock in the Dam into the IJ. In the 19th century the canal was filled in, except for the canal-boat docks on the waterway's west side. The gabled houses backing onto the water are among the city's most picturesque.
Damrak is also the name of the abutting street, which is like a giant stretch of flypaper, with cheap tourist hotels, fast-food restaurants and souvenir shops ready to catch visitors arriving at Centraal Station.