Begijnhof | Just off Kalverstraat

The Begijnhof is a 'hofje' (an enclosed court) dating back to the Middle Ages, consisting of a group of historic houses and a church.

It was the home of the Beguines, a group of women living together in this religious community, primarily to look after the sick. The women were not nuns, but they did have to be unmarried, to make a vow of chastity and to promise obedience to the parish priest.

Nothing survived of the earliest dwellings, but the Begijnhof still retains a sanctified atmosphere.

On the Begijnhof you find one of the two surviving wooden houses in Amsterdam: Het Houten Huis dating from around 1420.

During the restoration between 1984 and 1987 the courtyard was renovated and some houses enlarged. On 23 May 1971 the last Beguine, Sister Antonia, died at the age of 84. So, since 1971, the Beguinage is no longer a beguinage in the strict sense of the word.

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