A narrow spit of land along the Amstel
The Nes was originally a narrow peninsula along the Amstel. In contrast to the much more famous Kalverstraat - the counterpart of the Nes on the Nieuwe Zijde - this neighborhood retained its hidden character for a long time. Early in the 19th century, it turned into a nightlife hotspot, with café chantants and vaudeville theaters. In 1911, The Empire opened its doors in the Nes – Amsterdam's first gay café. Later the tobacco trade brought a lot of activity. Since the 1960s, more and more theater companies have moved into the abandoned factory buildings and introduced a cultural scene with plenty of room for experiments and innovation.
Today, the Nes is still a hidden part of the city where you will find a great density of cultural activities. The many foyers and event halls, together with the restaurants and shops, act as an extension of the limited street space. Large and small buildings as well as more and less prominent architecture alternate. In addition to the programming of the ground floor, the coherent layout of the public space also reinforces the identity of the street.
The audiotour follows the traces of the past. Visitors and residents are invited to walk from the Grimburgwal to the Dam, along 10 striking buildings. You explore the area in an individual manner, supported by a digital map and historical photos. At each stop, you can listen to an explanation of the architecture for about 3-4 minutes. The narrator is an architectural historian 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 brought to you by BIZNes. All you need is a smartphone with earplugs. Welcome to the Nes!