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Cafés in de Jordaan

People from the Jordaan like to chat, gossip and drink with each other in these kinds of bars, called ‘brown cafe’. Curtains on the windows, rugs on the table and an own seat for regular customers. Many of these cafes can still be visited.

Het Papeneiland

Café 't Papeneiland in de Jordaan

Prinsengracht 2

The building is a national monument dating from 1622, which has been a cafe since 1896. It is called Papeneiland for a reason: there is an old escape route from the Catholic hidden church on Prinsengracht 7 to this building at number 2. The remains of this escape can still be seen in the cafe. In late May 2011, the cafe had the honour to welcome former president Bill Clinton. He had come to the cafe especially to eat apple pie. An hour before the former president came, owner Tieltje received a call to reserve a place for the former president. After the usual grumbling, "Actually we never do that, but we will for only this time", there was only one place left for Clinton. And he came. A month later, Tieltje received a letter from the former president in which he thanked him for the delicious apple pie.

De Twee Zwaantjes

Twee Zwaantjes Amsterdam

Prinsengracht 114

Originally opened in 1800 under the name De Vergulde Turf. Later, a new owner (Kees de Vries and his family) changed the name to De Twee Zwaantjes. During the Second World War it was a meeting place for the resistance. The café has now become an iconic place where young and old come together to enjoy music and the cozy atmosphere. The café has a large terrace with a view of the Westertoren.
Photo: Image bank City Archives/Martin Alberts

't Smalle

't Smalle Amsterdam

Egelantiersgracht 12

Originally a gin and liqueur distillery founded in 1780 by Peter Hoppe, who later moved to Schiedam. It is certainly not the oldest café in Amsterdam - there is always a lot of discussion about it - but it is an authentic brown cafe. There is also a real drink organ which is a tap not for beer, but for spirits. Unique in the Netherlands! No music is played in the cafe; you can entertain each other with a good conversation! It is wonderful as well to stay on the terrace on the Egelantiersgracht.

Cafe Saarein

Café Saarein in de Jordaan

Elandsstraat 119

Cafe Saarein is located on the corner with the Elandsstraat. It is not just a cafe, but the first women's cafe in the Netherlands. Since 1978 when the business was taken over from Saar and Rein. The authentic interior from the early 20th century is still preserved, making it one of the few real brown bars in Amsterdam. In the 1970s it was visited by women from all over the world. Men were not allowed in there at the time. Not all men liked that and shots have been dropped. It is now open to all queer minded people who love music, pool and a big flirt.


Cafe Lowietje Amsterdam

Derde Goudsbloemdwarsstraat 2

Café Lowietje, a brown café in the heart of the Jordaan, is known from the popular Dutch TV series Baantjer: the stools where detectives Vledder and De Cock sat are still in the same place. Since its opening in 1954, the café has retained its authentic interior. Here you will experience a real Jordanian evening, including Amsterdam singers who sing the well-known Jordanian songs about life.
Photo: Amsterdam City Archives/Martin Alberts.

Rooie Nelis

Café Rooie Nelis in de Jordaan

Laurierstraat 101

The cafe opened its doors in 1937. When it opened, Sien Blommers-Ruwaard, better known as Blonde Sien, was ten years old. Her father, Rooie Nelis, started the cafe because he did not earn enough in the coal harbor. Her mother had saved enough money to open start the cafe. In 2012, the cafe was 75 years old. Over the years, Princess Beatrix visited it four times and former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende sat here every week with his student association enjoying a beer. Johnny Jordaan and Willy Alberti were also well known visitors. The successful TV series 't Schaep met de 5 Pooten' is based on the daily life here. In September 2019, Blonde Sien had to close the cafe for health reasons.

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Learn all about the history and secrets of the Jordaan with our walking route, scavenger hunts for adults and children or during a guided walk.

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