Wednesday, May 28, 2008

J is for Jordaan

The Jordaan is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Amsterdam. (It's pronounced Your-dahn.) It has some spots that are right out of a postcard and some really great shops and restaurants. I was all over it today looking for a statue of Johnny Jordaan (see below) when I rode across this bridge and decided that it would be my picture representing J. This bridge contains almost all of the things that I think of when I think of the Jordaan, and when I think of Amsterdam. There are bikes, boats and trees. There's a canal. And it's gray. We're having gray weather lately. It's warm and gray, which is my favorite weather of all. No sun, thanks.

I hesitate to write anything about the Jordaan other than my impression, which is that it's a great place to walk around or to ride a bike around. (I sometimes get attacked when I write "factual" things that people don't agree with.) The Jordaan is not all beautiful. There are some trashy little streets, but overall, it's a great place to spend the afternoon - in any weather. And I can go back again and again. It's where Sally lived. It's also a great place to just soak up Amsterdam atmosphere, which is what I did today.

Some of the landmarks that you can find there are The Anne Frank House (which is technically on the edge of the Jordaan), The Westerkerk and the Noordermarkt. (That's from Wikipedia, so if you don't agree, change it there - or bite me - or both.) It's also the direction I head to when I go to my LYS and when I go to the Negenstraatjes. But I don't think they're technically considered part of the Jordaan. I'm not concerned with that. It's all in the same direction from my house.

Johnny Jordaan, by the way, was a famous Dutch singer in a certain era. I'm more of a Tante Leen person myself, but that's probably just because I prefer listening to women sing most stuff. He was named for the Jordaan rather than the Jordaan being named for him. The Wik says that the word Jordaan may be a derivation from the French word jardin, meaning garden. I can see that as it's a very green part of the city, and I've read that there are lots of gardens and hofs there.

If you're ever in Amsterdam - and some days it feels like everyone is Amsterdam - take an afternoon and stroll around the Jordaan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes Andy, the Jordaan is a wonderful neigboorhood. My mother and our family from mother's side came from this part of this part of the city and it feels like home to me. Johnny Jordaan, Willy and Willeke Alberti are family too. My mother was only a few years older then Anne Frank and living in the same street during WOII. I always think this is a strange fact which makes me think about the awful things happening to people during this period. Let's now enjoy the Jordaan (indead the name originated from French folks that came to the city and brought a lot of plants and flowers) during the coming summer. Knitting..... ;-)

Carla M