The Begijnhof – A Must See
This Amsterdam free tourist attraction is slightly different from the others. It is a collection of well maintained green lawns, open courtyards which sets a perfect and serene place to add in your must visit list. The city’s oldest preserved wooden house (year 1465) is also located inside the Begijnhof as well. This place is good to explore as only a few people are aware of this beautiful green place.
The Begijnhof, although centrally located in one of the busiest shopping areas on the Spui, offers an unexpected oasis of rest and tranquility. In 1346, a group of pious lay women came to Amsterdam to form a religious community. The Beguines, as they were called, built the 164 small houses here instead of living in a convent. The Beguines lived and worked as nuns, but had not taken vows. Rules were strict: be of a sober manner, dress and live simply, and receive no male company at night. The women engaged in charitable works and were not permitted to spend the night away from their Begijnhof home.
In 1578 during the Reformation their church was confiscated and turned over to the English Reformed (Presbyterian) Community in 1607. Public displays of Catholicism were forbidden, so the lay sisters worshiped in secrecy, meeting in different houses. Two adjoining houses were purchased and converted into a permanent hidden: place of worship in 1655. The unobtrusive structure opposite the English Church is still a Catholic Chapel. The Houten Huis, or the Wooden House at No. 34, is reputedly the oldest house in Amsterdam (1475).
The English Church at the southern end of the Begijnhof courtyard was originally dedicated in 1419, though it was reconstructed in a more elaborate style after the fires in 1421 and 1452. The Union Jack, Scottish Church and House of Orange flags are displayed here. The Pilgrim Fathers Society presented the American flag and the stained-glass window over the choir exit.
After visiting this beautiful and calm place you are in the best spot to go shopping. Check here where you can buy for yourself something nice and to surprise your loved ones with a nice souvenir from Amsterdam