Wherever you are in Amsterdam, there are legendary spirits with their own stories.
Whether through personal vendetta or state-sanctioned slaughter, in the eyes of those who believe in ghosts tragedy and misfortune have left the streets of Amsterdam full of ghosts. Some strongly believe that not all souls have departed this world and that some remain here to haunt us.
1. Bloedstraat (Blood Street)
Bloedstraat runs down from Nieuwmarkt, where prisoners were once executed, to the canal. Apparently, blood from executions would trickle from Nieuwmarkt down into the canal, hence the name, Bloedstraat. Moreover, the street is said to be doubly haunted. There was once a Franciscan Monastery nearby, in which the 16th century Blood Trials took place. The Blood Trials are a particularly disturbing part of Dutch history, in which apparent political rebels were executed by order of the King of Spain. The ghosts of those executed are said to haunt Bloedstraat to this day.
2. Spooksteeg – Ghost Alley
In the 18th century, two sisters lived on this old alleyway with their father. One day a sailor appeared on the scene and fell in love with one of the sisters, Dina. The other sister, Helena was so jealous that she threw her sister into the cellar below the family’s tannery, killing her. Somehow, the sailor seems to have gotten over Dina and married her murderous sister instead, after her murder. On her deathbed some years later and wracked with guilt, Helena admitted the murder to the sailor, her husband. As you can imagine, he wasn’t too pleased about it all, going so far as to curse Helena’s soul. She is said to roam Spooksteeg, filling the alley with her ghostly wails.
3. The Spinhuis
Spinhouses were popular up until the late 19th century in Europe as penitentiaries for women, in which they were forced to spin thread. They’re notoriously spooky places and the one in Amsterdam is no exception. The story goes that a priest who lived at the house took his own life in one of the bedrooms because his commitment to god stopped him from being involved romantically with one of the women. The Spinhuis has now been converted into a hotel but staff and guests alike swear that the priest’s spirit lingers in the room where he died.
4. Dam Square
Dam Square sits right outside of the Royal Palace and everybody, tourist and resident alike, knows it. Today it’s a space for people to enjoy but during The Spanish Inquisition, it was the site of many, many executions. Lots of people were burned as witches in this very square and their souls are said the haunt what is a beautiful spot with such a grizzly history.
5. Montelbaan Tower
Montelbaan Tower was built in 1516 as a part of the city’s defenses. It is said that a family once tried to take refuge from attackers in the tower but that they were all murdered. The ghosts come back on June 2 every year to haunt the tower.