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Zuiderkerk ("Southern Church"), Groenburgwal AmsterdamThis interesting city tour in the historic center of Amsterdam leads you along unique locations of Amsterdam's rich past. We discover the city's every-day of the past - in a metropolis that was booming already centuries ago. We walk through small alleys, calm and peaceful courtyards and of course along some of the picturesque Amsterdam canals. Stories, history and anecdotes lurk everywhere!

The Old Church Oudekerk  is Amsterdam's oldest church building and can be considered the city's living room of the past. The lively Dam Square used to be populated by merchants from all parts of the world. New purposes were assigned to the numerous monasteries after the reformation, and they served as mental asylum, prison or as headquarters for the Dutch East India Company (VOC). To this company, Amsterdam owes much of its prosperity in the 17th century. In the middle of all this urban hustle and bustle, we can also find silent places like the beautiful Beguinage (Begijnhof), a retreat for catholic single women. 

Amsterdam: walk along the most interesting and beautiful sights 

 

Westerkerk Amsterdam, crown on church towerA city tour through the centre of Amsterdam, with its famous canals, visiting the remaining witnesses of Hollands glorious Golden Age, when commerce was prosperous and the arts were flourishing as never before. Walk along the beautiful sights of Amsterdam. See the former town hall, now Royal Palace (Koninklijk Paleis op de Dam) and the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk) next to it, the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the weight house that among others, housed the painters' guild and was the location for anatomical lessons.

Walk through the unique historical centre with its romantic canals. See the old churches and beautiful houses at the canals, often owned by whealthy merchants whose expanding economic ambition left traces in the young republic. See how the city's architect Hendrick de Keyser changed the view of the town, where criminal behaviour and laziness were punished and where old and poor people were taken care of. Where some dived into the bustle of international trade and where others withdrew for silent devotion. 

Oostindisch Huis Amsterdam. Headquarters of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).Discover Amsterdam
with a great sightseeing tour

A lot of construction was going on in seventeenth century Amsterdam, and many art works were produced and sold. Entrepreneurs and daredevils went on journeys to other parts of the globe, people died of the plague and countless immigrants came to town, in search for a chance to live in peace and prosperity. Often they brought specific skills with them and thus played an important part in making Amsterdam the flourishing metropole it became in this era.

 

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self portrait, etchingA walking tour through in the painter's footsteps 

Walk through the centre of Amsterdam in Rembrandt’s footsteps. See the places that were important to this genius, in one of Europe’s most exciting towns. The famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was one of the most renowned figures of 17th century Amsterdam and he lived, worked and left traces at various locations in the city of canals. Kukullus takes you on a walk through the streets and canals of Amsterdam and tells you about the master’s everyday life, as well as the very special days in his life. Where was the Nightwatch located? Who were the Staalmeesters? Where did the anatomy lesson of Dr. Tulp and of Dr. Deyman take place? Where did Rembrandt become famous, where were his children born and his wife buried?

Rembrandt "Nightwatch", Detail Rembrandt's career began in Leiden, the town where he was born. Here he learned his profession and started his first studio, working closely together with Jan Lievens, a very talented artist himself. During a period of six months, Rembrandt studied with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam and had the opportunuty to take his first steps in this rising boom town. 

Rembrandt in Amsterdam. An interesting city tour

In 1631, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam permanently. It was here were he was about to celebrate his triumphs and suffer defeat. Most of his spectacular paintings and reined etchings were produced in Amsterdam. In the beginning, he worked for the art dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh. In 1634, he became member of the painters' guild of Saint Luke and in the same year, he got married to Van Uylenburgh's niece Saskia. Rembrandt became very succesful in Amsterdam and lived like a lord. With the result that he had to declare bancruptcy in 1656, a financial situation from which he did not recover until his death. 

town hall of Amsterdam, tympanum with allegory of AmericaSo far apart and yet so closely connected. Amsterdam has a long-standing relation with Brazil and quite some traces of it are left in the city of canals. Shortly after the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC) was founded, its sister company, the West India Company (WIC) started to explore the seas and coasts of the Atlantic Ocean.

With as the consequences, new buildings dedicated to the trade with Africa and South America being erected, ships bringing new and valuable goods from Brazil and elsewhere to Amsterdam. The West-Indische Compagnie WIC was governed by the Heren XIX (the Lords Nineteen) who, over the decades that their company existed, held office in different places in Amsterdam.

West India House in AmsterdamLarge ships arrived in the Amsterdam harbour and unloaded their goods that subsequently were traded all over Europe. However, while today we can travel the distance between Brazil and Amsterdam in a single day, this journey took weeks or months in the time when the Dutch explored and goverend parts of Brazil.

Sugar and tobacco were among the most important products imported from Brazil and then sold on in Amsterdam. The sugar was produced in sugar refineries. Of the total of 29 refineries in the Dutch republic, 25 were located in Amsterdam. To gain the sugarloafs from sugar cain cultivated in Brazil, slaves who were "imported" from the African Gold Coast had to work hard in Brazilian sugar factories. 

A city walk on Brazil's heritage in Amsterdam