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The Dam (Amsterdam)

Carnivals / Fairs in Dam Square
Amsterdam, Holland

The “Dam Square” is the central most part of Amsterdam, minus Central Station. Its called “de Dam” in Dutch, or simply “The Dam”. Here resides notable buildings and events that bring together more visitors to the Netherlands than any other places in the country. Deep in the historical center of the city, it is located only 750 meters from “Centraal Station” – the main transportation hub. The square is rectangular in shape, roughly 200 x 100 meters in dimension. It connects Damrak, Rokin, Muntplein (Coin square), Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Damstraat, and Muttoren streets. The main Red Light District (de Wallen) is a hop and a skip from here. On the west end is the neoclassical Royal Palace, bordered by the 15th century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The National Monument is in its heart which is a white stone pillar designed by J.J.P. Oud in 1956 to memorialize the victims of WWII, and is one of the most famous meeting places in the city, and is where the New Amsterdam tours meet daily. The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store “De Bijenkorf” also border the square. The square was originally a Dam built in 1270 until 1544 in the river Amstel. As the dam built up, it became wide enough for a town square, as the city developed around it. The square began with the “Naatje of the Dam” statue in 1890, but was taken down in 1914. The weigh house that once stood here was demolished in 1808 by order of Louis Bonaparte who complained it blocked his view from the royal palace. The Damrak of the Amstel River was partially filled in during the 19th century and became the land blocked square it is now since then. The first stock exchange, the Beurs van Zocher was also originally housed here, where the department store now sits. The square became a “national” square well known to everyone in the Netherlands and became the main location for demonstrations, riots, street performers, meetings, and celebrations. Every May 4th it houses the National Memorial Day celebration at the monument. Queens Day hosts a big funfair in the center. Throughout the year various fairs and carnivals will set up here too.

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