Oudezijds Voorburgwal

The Oudezijds Voorburgwal, often abbreviated to OZ Voorburgwal, is a street and canal in De Wallen in the center of Amsterdam. The OZ Voorburgwal runs from the Grimburgwal in the south to the Zeedijk in the north, where it changes into the Oudezijds Kolk, which drains into the IJ.

Oudezijds Voorburgwal
Oudezijds Voorburgwal
Postal code1012
Coordinates52.372778°N 4.897222°E / 52.372778; 4.897222
South endGrimburgwal
ToZeedijk (Sea wall)

The bridge over the OZ Voorburgwal between Damstraat and Oude Doelenstraat (bridge 204) forms a clear dividing line between the noisy northern Wallendeel and the quiet southern part. It is one of the most famous streets of the Red Light District, full of sex shops, window prostitutes, peep shows, brothels, bars and coffee shops. The Bulldog has several branches and a hotel here. The canal is also lined with monumental canal houses from the Dutch Golden Age, and the remains of the many monasteries that were located here in the Middle Ages.


The OZ Voorburgwal was originally a creek that was later dug into a canal around the eastern part of the city, the old side. Before 1385 the Amstel divided the city of Amsterdam into two almost equal parts, the old side with the Old Church and the new side with the New Church. To protect the city, a moat was dug on each side with a burgwal behind it, an earthen wall, with a wooden palisade for protection. When new ramparts were constructed behind these ramparts around 1385, on both the old and new sides the existing rampart became the Voorburgwal and the new rampart became the Achterburgwal. That is how Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and Nieuwezijds Achterburgwal (now Spuistraat) were created.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the canal was usually called the Fluwelenburgwal. When the buildings on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal were built in the Golden Age, canal gardens were laid out behind the mansions. Almost all of them have since disappeared.

The Bierkaai (beer quay) was the quay on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, near the Oude Kerk, where barrels of beer arrived and porters loaded and unloaded the heavy barrels. The residents of this part of Amsterdam were known as invincible fighters. The proverbial "fight against the beer quay" is derived from this: dedication to a hopeless cause.

Famous buildings

There are more than a hundred national monuments on Oudezijds Voorburgwal . Some well-known buildings on the OZ Voorburgwal are:


The Oudezijds Achterburgwal is spanned by 8 bridges, all fixed.

Number Name Street Passage
Managed by
208 Armbrug Oudezijds Armsteeg 8.00 1.80 Centrum
207 Liesdelsluis Lange Niezel 5.43 1,80 Centrum
206 Oudekerksbrug Oudekennissteeg 11.59 1.80 Centrum
205 Sint-Jansbrug Sint Jansstraat 15,59 2,38 Centrum
204 Varkenssluis Damstraat 5,18 2,06 Centrum
203 Lommertbrug Enge Lombardsteeg 6,60 1,94 Centrum
105 Makelaarsbruggetje Sint Barberensteeg 6.90 1.98 Centrum
201 Sleutelbrug Grimburgwal 6.96 1,92 Centrum

With the passage heights in the table, one must take into account the fact that the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, like all other canals in the city center, is 0.40 metres (1 ft 4 in) below the NAP.

Notes on the three northern bridges:

  • the Arm Bridge was never an arched bridge, but was built as a flat bridge and was modernized as such
  • the Liesdelburg was an arch bridge, became a flat beam bridge and was restored as an arch
  • the Oudekerks bridge was a wooden bridge and was not converted into an arch bridge until the late 20th century ("architectural lie").


The Oudezijds Voorburgwal is depicted on the ace of the standard Dutch deck of cards.

See also



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