/ The Amsterdam Guide
Amsterdam — By Marianne on December 2, 2009 at 7:52 am
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Eat in de Waag and Get a Free Lesson in History

The year is 1488. It’s evening. It’s half past nine. The sky has turned ink-blue. The night watchman turns the key in the lock and then brings it to the city hall for safekeeping. Saint Antonius Gate is locked and Amsterdam is safe for the night.

However, Amsterdam expanded and at the beginning of the 17th century St Antonius Gate stood within the city walls. It was no longer used for defence, but the tower became a weighing house. Merchants liked its proximity to the Amstel river and a thriving market sprung up in front of the tower now called Waag or Weighing House. In the 18th century, the area around the Waag building became known as Nieuwmarkt (New Market). It developed and grew into Amsterdam’s most important trade centre.

in de waag

In de Waag, Amsterdam

Over the centuries the Waag building and surroundings have had various functions. At one time, it stored the city’s archives and in Napoleonic days Nieuwmarkt Square served as public execution place. These days it is a daily market where vendors sell fruit, vegetables and flowers. On Saturdays it is the Farmers’ Market and famous for its organic produce. Today, the Waag is a haunt for history buffs and for all others a gastronomic place with excellent outdoor seating in summer.

The inside is beautifully decorated. The white-washed walls, wooden floors and furniture and an abundance of candles take you back into earlier times. The pleasant hum of visitors enjoying the food and each other’s company buzzes across the rafters. The menu selection is not very large, but features a good choice of meat and two vegetarian dishes. The tagliatellini sounds promising, eggplants, zuchini and sun-dried tomatoes as does Poulet Noir, chicken breast with mushrooms, risotto rice and grilled vegetables. The Menu of the Day is every day different, but always consists of three courses at a fixed price of € 32,50. The deserts are tantalising. Who can resist apple tartlet with lavender flavoured ice-cream or chocolate cake with stewed figs?

The food is not cheap but if you are on a tight budget, the Waag is still worth a visit to check out old-world Dutch ambience. To save a little money, order a starter for your main meal. If you are not very hungry, try cappuccino and a wedge of apple pie with a secret Dutch mix of spices. Then sit back, spoon up the whipped cream and enjoy this authentic Dutch treat.

Café-Restaurant in de Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4, opening hours 10.oo -01.00 hours

photo credit: personal collection

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  • Jon Rochetti says:

    One thing I love about Europe is that buildings date back to before tAmerica was even discovered. This looks like aan interesting place.

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