The Dutch might be the least superstitious people on earth, but in a city as old and full of history as Amsterdam, there’s bound to be some ghosts haunting the place, and sure enough there are.
The center of Amsterdam, where so many happy people go to party, has one of the darkest histories of the whole city. Dam Square was once the place for hangings and witch burnings. During the time of the Spanish Inquisition of the 16th century around 16,000 people were burned at the stake, beheaded or hanged either for witchcraft or offending the Catholic Church in some way. Surely some of them are now restless souls wandering the historic center of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Dungeon near Rokin explores this era and its subsequent hauntings. It is, perhaps not coincidentally, located on the site of an old graveyard with tombs dating back to the late 16th century.
Louys and Hendrick Trip are two brothers who lived in the 17th century and they are said to still inhabit the house they built, Trippenhuis. They had an arms business and were ‘Purveyors of Weapons, Artilleree, Shotte and Amunition of Were’. Their large canal mansion is still known as the Trippenhuis and since 1887 has housed the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In the Red Light District, the Oude Kerk bell tower is said to be haunted by a small boy and his family who appear once a year on June 2nd. Nearby Nieuwmarkt and De Waag weighhouse were once the site of public executions and at the lower side of the square the street Bloedstraat (Blood Street) got its name for a reason.
In this cheerful city where the Amsterdammers ride past on their bicycles, it’s interesting to take a ghost walk tour and see the other side of the city, a history not quite as happy as that of the modern day city.