About Dam Square
Dam square is one of the most famous destinations in the city center of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. This place is the heartbeat of the city, it stays lively for most of the time during the whole day and will always be hosting some event for your entertainment. Being one of the most popular tourist spots you can just follow the crowd of tourists from Amsterdam Central station to the Damrak that leads you to Dam Square.
The square street connects the main artery streets Damrak and Rokin and provides passage to the main shopping streets of Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk. You can also hop on to a tram line as most of them traverse the Dam Square. Dam square is a wide boulevard that is having Royal Palace of Amsterdam on one side and the National Monument on the other. It also provides several shopping facilities, food stores, restaurants, and souvenir stores.
Take a walk across the Dam square and you will find a lot of fun things to watch like comedy shows, fire shows, live music, dance shows and lots of other activities that will keep you occupied throughout the evening.
You can also opt for a bicycle ride. The prices of the things here will be on the higher side, so make sure to dig a hole in your pockets on your visit to the square. It’s advisable to carry an international debit/ credit card like MasterCard, American Express, etc. so that you don’t face any trouble while paying bills.
How to Reach Dam Square
There are two major modes of transport that can take you from Amsterdam Airport to the Dam Square.
Firstly, you can travel via train from Amsterdam Airport (AMS) to Dam Square which takes 18 Mins, the train leaves in every 10 Mins. It will cost you around 6 Euro – 13 Euro for train travel.
Secondly, you can opt for a bus as well that will take 30 Mins to reach Dam Square from Amsterdam Airport, the bus leaves in every 15 Mins. This will cost you between 3 Euro and 5 Euro for bus travel.
Last and the most costly way to reach Dam Square from the Amsterdam Airport is to take a private taxi which will charge you a hefty amount of 50 Euro 60 Euro and travel time will be around 20 mins.
Best Time to Visit Dam Square
The best time to visit Dam Square is during late autumn till the early winters get over. Try to hit this spot during April, May, early June or the middle of September and October. During April to Mid- October you won’t find this place too crowded and there are fair chances to see a sunny sky. While during the summertime you have to stay patient and wait for your turn as every tourist attraction of the Dam Square will be crowded.
Though there is no specific timing of the day to visit the Dam Square, try to plan your visit between 10 AM to 12 PM when the crowd is less. You will have better chances of visiting the major places. An early visit to the dam is always suggestible as it would give you more time to explore all the places.
What Not to Miss at Dam Square
Here is the list of best places to visit in Dam Square:
1. Visit National Monument: A 1956 limestone obelisk standing tall at the eastern side of Dam Square, is Amsterdam's National Monument. Built-in the memory of Dutch fallen soldier and World War II, this is the yearly ceremony venue on Dutch Memorial Day (May 4th).
Location: Dam,1012 JL
2. Go for Royal Palace: One of the three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by act of Parliament. This place is used for all the Royal events and King’s New Year reception and official receptions.
Location: Dam 1,1012 JS
3. Visit Madame Tussauds: It’s built in 1970 on the perimeter of Dam Square and blesses you with a beautiful view of the city from its upper-floor windows.This museum has the wax statues of famous personalities from all over the world including Lady Diana,William of Orange, Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi and many more.
Location: Dam 20, 1012 KW
4. Praise the Art at the New Church: Standing next to Royal Palace, this Gothic Beauty was built in the fifteenth-century to ease the overcrowding in the Old Church. Since then the services were closed and the church used as a place of the exhibition for high-profile art exhibits and organ recitals.
Location: De Dam,1012 NL
Things to Do in Dam Square
Apart from lots of shopping options, you can also head towards these attractions that will not be as expensive as shopping.
1. Exploring the Red Light District: It’s an “Adult Only” place at the northeast corner of Dam Square. This Red-Light area gathers a crowd of bachelors, passengers and many more who are in search of legal prostitution.
2. Cruise the Canals: Tour the famous canals of Amsterdam in an electric boat. During your mini voyage, you will learn about the history of the network of waterways.
3. Go for a Bike Ride: Riding a bike in Amsterdam is really fun, the bike can take you to places where cars cannot go. You will be up and close with the city as the breeze of Amsterdam will hit your face directly. Make sure to follow the bicycle-shaped traffic lights and to stay away from the tram traffic.
4. Food Tour: The red light district of Amsterdam is not only famous for the notorious “Adult Only” options, but it is also famous for its variety of food. Here you can some of the highly popular Dutch foods. You will experience the dutch food culture here and make sure to grab on the specialty dishes: Korket, Dutch cheese, and stroopwafel.
Other Essential Information About Dam Square
Location: Dam square is located in the heart of Amsterdam, around 750 Meters south of the main transport hub, Central Station. It’s the place where the river Amstel was originally located. It links the Damrak and Rokin streets, running along the Amstel River from Centraal Station to Muntplein (Mint Square) and the Munttoren (Mint Tower).
Entry Fee: There is no fee just for visiting Dam Square. However if you make a visit to the museum or any other tourist attraction, you will be charged accordingly.
Timings: 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Sunday.
Photography: You can click photographs freely at most of the places except where it is not allowed. Watch out for the “No Photography” sign.
Distance from Amsterdam Airport: Amsterdam Airport and Dam Square are a distance of 20kms- 22kms from each other. It takes 30 Mins - 33 Mins to cover the distance, depending upon your mode of transport.
History of Dam Square
Dam Square derives its name from the dam itself, which was made on the Amstel River. The dam was quite popular because of its size, it was made wide enough to develop a town square and the whole town around it. As a result, Dam Square was built around the dam only. The current dam originally consisted of two squares, the actual dam, called Middle Dam; and Plaetse, a plaza situated in the west.
A war memorial named De Eendracht (The Unity) was built in 1856 inside the square before King Willaim III. Monument was given the nickname of “Naatje of the Dam”, it was a column made up of stone with a female statue on top. The monument was demolished in 1914.
The place witnessed a shooting in 1945 when the Germans opened fire on Canadian troops with a machine gun. Around 120 people were injured and 22 were announced dead. The Dam Square was also the central stage of the largest civil disturbance in the Netherlands on 30th April 1980, called Coronation Riots.
Places to Shop in Dam Square
1. De Bijenkorf: Most renowned premium departmental store, you can find an endless number of brands here for shoes, toys, hardware, accessories and much more.
Location: Dam 1,1012 JS Amsterdam
2. Magna Plaza: An indoor shopping center built in the former Main post office of Amsterdam. It’s got over 20 stores on 4 floors of popular brands. Also, this place has a lot of dining options in various cuisines.
Location: Nieuwezijdse Voorburgwal 182, behind the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.
3. Kalvertoren: It’s a huge modern shopping arcade located at the back of the main shopping street, the Kalverstraat. Kalvertoren holds a departmental store, several fashion stores, cosmetics shops, music stores and much more to meet your basic needs.
Location: Located within a triangle formed by Kalverstraat, Heiligeweg, and Shingle.
4. Hudson’s Bay: The biggest departmental store in Amsterdam focuses mainly on middle-class citizens. The prices and quality are provided accordingly.