From harbour to reception portal
Originally, the Damrak was the harbour of Amsterdam. The open connection with the harbour front on the IJ provided a view of the moored ships. Over the water of the Damrak, the smaller ships could sail into the city and moor up to Dam Square. Initially, only one side of the Damrak was lined by narrow houses. With the construction of the commodity exchange, large buildings began to advance on the eastern side.
The street became increasingly urban. The most radical change came with the construction of the Central Station on the IJ, which closed off the Damrak from the open harbour front. No longer was the transition from city to harbour located at Dam Square, but it shifted to the shores of Het IJ.
The Damrak transformed from a border between land and sea to the entrance portal of the city. Insurance offices and banks settled here, with hotels, shops, restaurants and cinemas following in their wake. Now, the Damrak is part of the Red Carpet, a project that aims to upgrade the entire main axis from Central Station through the city centre to De Pijp - not coincidentally the route of the new metro line.
During the audiotour, visitors and residents are taken along Damrak, along 10 striking buildings. You explore the area in an individual way, supported by a digital map and some current and historical photos per building.
At each stop you can hear about 5 minutes of explanations about the architecture, but also about the origins of the institutions and companies. The narrator is a local architect and architectural guide who shares her experience in an accessible and well-researched way. She knows how to tell a story about every project.
The tour is available for free and is offered to you by Biz Damrak Beursplein. All you need is a smartphone with earplugs. Welcome to Dam Square!