Death & Amsterdam: The top five most haunted places that you can still visit

Written By A.R. Arthur

A.R. Arthur (formerly A.R. Salandy) is a Black Mixed-race poet & writer who has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. He is the EIC of Fahmidan Journal/Publishing & Co, Reviews Editor at Full House Literary & Poetry Editor at Chestnut Review. Twitter/Instagram: @ararthurwriter

The Netherlands is a land of cheese, great height, and mighty polders. However, its capital shares a dark and gory history that may leave you catching a freight on your next visit. Famously, the seventeenth century leader of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, Johan de Witt, was lynched and eaten by his countrymen for reckless governance and what is known as “De Rampjaar,” The Disaster Year. This is but one example of the gore, and history of the peculiar surrounding death. Let’s explore five of the most chilling hauntings in the nation’s capital, Amsterdam.

The Blood House – De Gijsbert Dumber Huis

Known far and wide, this Amsterdam canal house’s notoriety stems from the 1600s where a skilled statesman and several-time Mayor of Amsterdam, Coenraad van Beuningen went insane. In his final years, Beuningen began to isolate in the house and began painting the walls in elaborate Kabalistic and satanic signs all in his own blood. Quite miraculously, all floors and walls were eventually coated in the sanguine excess of the once powerful man. Some have speculated that rumors of the use of his blood were exaggerated. However, some first-hand accounts of those known to him suggest otherwise. Keen observers can still see some of the heavily faded magenta on the outside of the property.

De Waag & Bloedstraat – Blood Street, Nieuwmarkt

An arcane building from the 15th century that was once a weigh house, and is now a restaurant, was also once home to unfathomable suffering, death and torture. During the 17th century, De Waag was the site of infamous Dutch witch trials. Notably, it was almost entirely women who learnt their fate at De Waag despite men also being accused of being a part of the occult. Paranormal activity from creepy sensations to fleeting ghosts still haunt the building with numerous visitors picking up on the spirits that remain long after their brutal ends.

Nieuwmarkt became synonymous with executions, torture and death as the centuries have worn on. Blood Street is known for two main reasons. Firstly, it is believed to be haunted by the many prisoners executed nearby whose blood would drain onto this street. Further, it is a street where planned slayings of heretics would begin in earnest by way of the Duke of Alba. This macabre history makes Nieuwmarkt a site of unthinkable carnage and its planning.

Ghost Alley – Spooksteeg

Hellena, the daughter of a tanner in the 18th century, fell in love with a sailor who was in love with her sister Dina. Unrequited love became fury as Hellena killed her sister by throwing her into their cellar. Hellena was able to cover this up as an accident and later went on to marry the sailor she had been so enamored with. On her deathbed, she told him of her misdeeds and in a fury, he cursed her to roam the street for eternity. On the 100th year anniversary of her death, locals claim to have heard screams late into the night. Local legend still says that Hellena roams the street deep into the night.

The Amstel Hotel

This luxury hotel has been operating since 1867 and is known for its five-star luxury. However, many guests have reported seeing a ghostly women dressed in a white gown roaming the rooms and corridors. It is believed to be that of a former chambermaid named Doris who worked at the hotel in the early 1900s and fell in love with a wealthy guest who promised her much but ultimately gave little. After he did not return, Doris was heartbroken and committed suicide by jumping off the hotel’s roof. Doris is said to occasionally appear to guests who have reported cries and wails alongside random disturbances and indeed, sightings of this heartbroken spirit late into the night.

The Weeping Tower – De Schreierstoren

A part of the original city wall, The Weeping Tower became a bastion of defense for the city in the late 15th century. In the 1500s a woman named Trijn Jacobs lived in the tower with her sailor husband. After going off to voyage one day he never returned and eventually, whilst weeping, Trijn jumped from the top of the tower to her death. Many visitors have reported eerie moans, crying and unexpected noises even with no one else present. Perhaps even more gruesome was that this tower so many thousands of soldiers, explorers and migrants leave to never return or die in the process.