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Four of Amsterdam’s Best Kept Secrets

Four of Amsterdam’s Best Kept Secrets

The lure of Amsterdam is impossible to resist. Many come for the wild parties and the tempting red light district, but Amsterdam has so much more to offer than just vice. Though the drug shops and prostitution overshadows these places, the capital of the Netherlands has a soul all its own, embodied in these special hideaways. Break away from the pack and enjoy a new perspective of an infamous city.

Tree in the House

Koen van Velsen

The Tree in a House

Everyone loves to have plants in their homes: they help the decor and improve the atmosphere. However, some people take this love to the extreme.In one of the new residential areas in Amsterdam, owners were allowed to freely design their own houses, and soon the street itself became a veritable portfolio of modern Dutch architecture.

The most creative designer of the bunch, architect Koen van Velsen, constructed a house in the number 120 of Scheepstimmermanstraat around a 10-metre acacia tree, which stretches all the way from the ground floor up to the glass roof.

The Woodcutter

Hidden in the bushes of a tree, an anonymous piece of art remains unseen by the majority of tourists. Made from bronze standing at about 50 centimetres, the sculpture of a little woodcutter has been placed on top of a tree, hiding in plain sight in a touristy area directly opposite the bridge from the Leidseplein.

The Eyewear Art Museum

Located above an old-fashioned optician’s shop, this two-floor museum is filled with 700 years’ worth of spectacular spectacles. In this hidden spot, visitors can witness the progression of technology and fashion in eyewear from the dawn of the modern eyeglass.The shop allows its visitors to get back to the streets, but not before they have a chance to look through a unique selection of frames from the year 1500 on.

The Chapel of the Parrot

When the Netherlands adopted Protestantism, Catholic minorities were not allowed to pray in public. As a result, many believers decided to turn their houses into “private” chapels, most of which were hidden under the guise of animals’ names. In one of the busiest streets of Amsterdam, The Kalverstraat, one of these secret yet sacred places still stands: The Parrot. At the entrance a slogan can be read as: “Een kwartier voor God”, meaning “15 minutes for God.”

Return to Amsterdam, The Great Laboratory


The Chapel of the Parrot

The Chapel of the Parrot


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