When Alan and I boarded Amacello in Amsterdam for an AmaWaterways Rhine River Christmas Market cruise, we didn’t expect such a snowy welcome. But those white flakes didn’t keep us from exploring Amsterdam on a Jordaan District walking tour provided by the ship. In fact, the snow added to the fun of visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When the tour bus dropped us off near the Jordaan District, a blanket of white seemed to quiet the busy Amsterdam streets. From here, a guide began the Jordaan District walking tour. The area was once a 17th century working class neighborhood, actually a slum, that eventually attracted left-wing politicians, artists and musicians. Today the gentrified residential neighborhood is a posh home to yuppies and a delightful escape from the hustle-bustle of central Amsterdam. Famous Jordaan residents include the Dutch artist, Rembrandt. And the Anne Frank House is located on the Prinsengracht canal at the edge of De Jordaan.
Crossing a canal, our guide led the small group deep into the backstreets of the Jordaan District.Head set systems provided by AmaWaterways allowed us to listen to the guide while walking at our own pace, which for us means stopping to take photos.
Even Amsterdam’s army of bicycles were encrusted with snow. And although it was fun taking photos, a camera rainsleeve would have helped keep our lenses from being marked by melting snowflakes.
We ventured into hidden courtyards with gardens that must be charming cloaked in spring flowers. And when it was time to warm up, a stop at Cafe Winkel for coffee and Dutch apple pie (provided by the tour) was the sustenance we needed before continuing the Jordaan District walking tour.
Across the canal from De Jordaan, Westerkerk (West Church circa 1631) features an impressive clock tower and marks the beginning of the district, although it sits across from the Jordaan District and was attended by members of the upper class. Westerkerk is also the burial site of Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijnmand. The working class residents of Jordaan attended the simpler Noorderkerk (North Church 1623). On Saturdays, you’ll find a large, organic farmers market in the church square, but plan to return on Monday for a thriving flea market. And of course there’s an assortment of shops, art galleries and restaurants throughout the Jordaan District.
At the end of the walking tour, a tour bus transported us to the Amacello. But of course we didn’t let a little snow stop us from walking back into central Amsterdam to check out the Red Light District.
Read more about our Rhine River Christmas Markets Cruise with AmaWaterways.
If you’re interested in walking the streets of Jordaan—and you’re not on a guided tour—download a free walking guide from Every Trail. Or take Susan Guillory’s advice in how to take an Amsterdam self-guided walking tour.
Have you taken a Jordaan District Walking Tour? Was it as snowy as ours? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.