Medieval Centre & Red Light District

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Medieval Centre & Red Light District attractions

1. Sexmuseum Amsterdam

0.05 MILES

The Sexmuseum is good for a giggle. You’ll find replicas of pornographic Pompeian plates, erotic 14th-century Viennese bronzes, some of the world’s…

2. Zeedijk

0.11 MILES

This is one of Amsterdam's oldest streets. Initially a shipping district, it was a respectable place to be until the 17th century. Then the rich folk…

3. Centraal Station

0.13 MILES

Beyond being a transport hub, Centraal Station is a sight in itself. The turreted marvel dates from 1889. One of the architects, PJ Cuypers, also designed…

4. Brouwerij De Prael

0.13 MILES

Brouwerij De Prael offers engaging behind-the-scenes tours of its brewery. Tours depart on the hour and last 40 minutes, followed by a sample (or four)…

5. Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder

0.14 MILES

Within what looks like an ordinary canal house is an entire Catholic church. Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Dear Lord in the Attic) was built in the mid…

6. Warmoesstraat

0.15 MILES

Amsterdam's earliest canals grew out from the IJ River like the roots of a tree, and Warmoesstraat was one of the first streets to follow. Its historical…

7. Beurs van Berlage

0.15 MILES

Master architect and ardent socialist HP Berlage (1856–1934) built Amsterdam's financial exchange in 1903. He filled the temple of capitalism with…

8. Prostitution Information Centre

0.16 MILES

Established by a former sex worker, the PIC provides frank information about the industry to those in the trade, their customers and curious tourists. It…