Amsterdam is a maze of bicycle paths, canals, and a never-ending stream of people all going about their daily activities. Amsterdam is a unique and exciting city that holds surprises and interesting adventures around every corner. The fast-paced lifestyle makes it easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city.
Unknown to many, Amsterdam hides a peaceful little oasis right in the middle of the city center. This beautiful oasis, known as the Begijnhof with the nickname of the Secret Garden of Amsterdam, is tricky to find but you’ll be glad you did as it gives a much needed break from the rush of people and city life.
The Begijnhof is a quiet courtyard that was originally a sanctuary for the “Beguines” sisterhood. Nowadays, the houses enclosing the Begijnhof are occupied by older single women. This courtyard is one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam and holds a beautiful 15th century English Church on the south side of the courtyard.
The courtyard is lined with traditional Amsterdam-style town houses surrounding a peaceful green space hidden between Amsterdam’s busy streets. The Secret Garden is the perfect quiet spot to relax and enjoy the slow-paced side of Amsterdam.
The Begijnhof is a hidden gem in this city, literally, since it’s not easily found by travelers. It’s mentioned in many guidebooks, but often gets skipped because people can’t find it or don’t want to spend the time looking for it. Don’t make that mistake! You would be missing out on such an unexpected, peaceful little haven right in the heart of the city.
Since the houses in the Begijnhof are still occupied, it’s customary to remain quiet and respect their privacy while exploring the courtyard. It’s free to enter and the main entrance is located off Gedempte Begijnensloot (see the map below to better help you find this hidden oasis).
Have you been to the Begijnhof in Amsterdam? What did you think? Is this somewhere you want to visit on your next trip to Amsterdam?