Exploring the Hofs – Amsterdam’s Obscure Courtyard Gardens

Amsterdam Tours
Amsterdam Tourist Attractions

A ‘Hof’ is an enclosed courtyard with splendid quiescent gardens that are perfect for relaxing or taking a light stroll. You can find these Hofs in several locations during your Amsterdam tours and visiting them gives you a certain tranquility that you cannot find elsewhere. Inside a Hof are courtyards, gardens, houses and even a chapel, which are originally meant for penniless widows.

Many widowed women still reside here, although Hofs are considered as one of the must-see attractions in Amsterdam. These are limited places and have only a few hours of opening since they are residential areas. Listed below are some of the Hofs that you should definitely visit during your Amsterdam tours.

The Begijnhof

Begijnhof is one of the most popular Hofs in Amsterdam and a great place to spend your day. This Hof dates back to the 1100’s, and is one of the oldest in Amsterdam. It is occupied by the Beguines, a religious community of women who nursed the poor while undertaking a vow of chastity and strict religious upbringing. Located in the center is a church that you can visit for attending the services or simply viewing the structure.

The Zon’s Hofje

The Zon’s Hofje is a peaceful courtyard with a carefully manicured garden. It is the best place to visit if you prefer a little solitude and tranquility. Zon’s Hofje is lined with several trees and the courtyards have several benches that make it an ideal place to relax. The shades of the trees and the buildings will give you a quite experience.

The Van Brienen Hofje

Another stunning Hof to look for is the Van Brienen Hofje located on the Prinsengracht. There are footpaths around its splendid gardens so you can take a light stroll while admiring its magnificence. At the center of the courtyard are two water pumps, benches, and a clock tower at the front. It is a perfect place to sit by and relax, experiencing its unique calmness.

Claes Claesz Hofje

Another oldest courtyard in Amsterdam, the Claes Claesz Hofje, is a place that you should definitely visit for a calming experience. It is difficult to find but you can look for the Claes Claesz restaurant and the white fenced alleyway to enter this Hof. Inside are two small green spaces with shrubs and a streetlight, which you can explore while on a short walk.

The Karthuizer Hofje

The Karthuizer Hofje is the biggest Hof in Amsterdam and a must-visit one for people of Amsterdam tours. Three is two lawns inside the Hof, each separated by a white fence. Trees line the sides, giving you the proper shade when taking a stroll. The gardens were used to bleach clothes once, and the white clothing lines are still visible if you look closely.