1.2 miles / 1.9 kilometres
Lots to see on this short, round-trip walk and it’s especially stunning on a beautiful morning or evening. Daytime noise can ruin its surprising city centre serenity.
You can start on the Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug) 1, the white wooden drawbridge over the Amstel River. This bascule bridge was opened in 1934 and links the centre of the city with the districts east of the Amstel River – it’s the way to the Hermitage, the Zoo (Artis), Hortus Botanic Gardens and the Resistance Museum.
Then, as you follow the Amstel in a southerly direction, you will see the Carré Theatre 2 over to your left (south-east) and the Hoge Sluis bridge ahead. Carré Theatre (pronounced Car-Ray) was built as a circus theatre in 1887. The style is neo-classical and it stands above the locks which are as enchanting and noteworthy as any edifice.
After that, you’ll turn right and the walk takes you through the Frederiksplein and Falckstraat, both of which are green oases.
On the Frederiksplein, beside the fountain, be sure to go and see the very moving ‘Fallen tree’ Memorial to Walraven (Wally) van Hall 3, a Dutch banker and resistance leader who was murdered in 1945, during the occupation of The Netherlands in World War II. The headquarters of the Dutch bank is on the square – that’s the big ugly building.
Amstel River to Reguliersgracht Walk (follow link to see in Google maps)
Frederiksplein itself is home to a wonderful variety of trees. As well as lots of gorgeous elms, you will encounter Caucasian wingnut (Pterocarya fraxinifolia)and pagoda trees AKA scholar’s tree (Sophora japonica), Catalpa, hawthorne, as well as other beauties if you're on the ‘qui vive’. Two marvellous Sophora japonica/pagoda trees 4 stand at the junction of Falckstraat and Reguliersgracht, one of these was planted in 1900 and the other in the 1930’s. It’s a beautiful spot and there are benches built around the trees so you can sit and absorb the scene. As I’ve mentioned before, you may be inspired to great things here.
Continuing this walk you will cross all three main canals; the second part of the walk takes you along the Reguliersgracht in a northerly direction towards Rembrandtplein. This too is a gorgeous canal; ‘picturesque’ hardly does it justice. You'll be clicking madly with your camera
There are trees all along the way and because the route is mainly residential, the pavement gardens are ravishing. You may spend more time on this walk than you’d expect for 1.2 miles. As usual, you can vary as you wish, shorten or lengthen according to your mood. You'll pass two beautiful, but totally different churches. There is the Duif (means dove) 5, which is near the intersection of the Reguliersgracht and the Prinsengracht. Its beautiful, plain, stone facade is totally different to the cute, white, wooden Amstelveld Church 6 near the intersection with Reguliersgracht. Neither of these functions as a church anymore, both are worth a closer look and may be open for a peek inside.
The Amstelveld square is a lovely space in all seasons and doubles as a football pitch, but also as a plant market (on Mondays). Go and have a look at the square of Caucasian Wingnuts 7 which are golden in autumn, dramatic in winter, lovely in spring and blissful in summer. This square is blessed with two lovely cafés I might add and yet it is neither touristy nor noisy here.
You’ll turn right again on the Herengracht at Thorbeckeplein. This very picturesque square is named after the Dutch statesman Thorbecke (1798-1872) and has some lovely plane trees 8. Regrettably this lovely square, bordering Rembrandtplein, is also home to quite a few seedy bars and clubs but it’s still a nice spot.
As you walk along the Herengracht back towards the Amstel, you will pass the Waldorf Astoria. It’s not immediately obvious as the hotel is housed behind the original facades but you can look into the kitchens and their restaurant has a huge reputation. Continuing on you’ll cross the Utrechtsestraat and further on you’ll return to the Amstel River with a lovely vista of the Hermitage Museum 9 ahead of you across the water.
In winter you will see views that are hidden by foliage in the summer and you are near some really nice places to stop and sup. Café Schiller (just off the route on Rembrandtplein) is an Art Deco café and a very cosy place to throw down your tired bones after a cold walk. So try it when the weather is dank and dreary and it'll put you in good spirits.
This walk is very short and central yet gets you away from ‘the madding crowd’. It is easy to do in the evening and because you'll encounter umpteen bridges with their lovely lights, it's great after dark too.
Because you’re near to Rembrandtplein and you actually cross the Utrechtsestraat, there’s plenty of life, and there are lots of cafés and shops if you need to run for shelter.
|good time for this walk||spring||summer||autumn||winter|
|area of walk||north|