Leidse Square - Leidse Square information and pictures

The Leidseplein district, or as it’s more commonly called, Leidse Square, is a bustling and jumping area filled with numerous clubs, coffeehouses, theatres, a casino and entertaining street performers. Once a former 17th century parking area for horse drawn carts that were banned from the city center, Leidse Square today forms the center of modern Amsterdam.

Awash with neon lights, and hordes of locals and tourists on foot and bicycles searching for some excitement, Leidse Square has something for everyone from decadent to tamer pursuits. Everyone though, will certainly enjoy the prime people watching that Leidse Square offers.

Two landmark buildings dominate the square, the Stadsschouwburg Theatre and the American Hotel. The Stadsschouwburg is a beautiful neo-classical and Renaissance structure, built in 1894 by architect Jan L. Springer to replace the 18th century theatre destroyed by fire. It’s considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Holland. The interior is decorated in an opulent Baroque style. Dramatic performances from Shakespeare to more avant-garde productions can be seen here.

The American Hotel is famous for its early 20th century ornate Art Deco design, and the iconic Café Americain where Marta Hari held her wedding reception. Completed in 1902 by architects Willem Kromhout and H.G. Jansen, the hotel is a stunning example of art- nouveau design with turrets, gables, a distinctive bell tower and modern stained glass windows.

The interior of the popular Café Americain is lavishly appointed with Art Deco furnishings and murals. It offers a cool and refined ambience with antique reading tables, newspapers and Wi-Fi. The Café has long been a favorite haunt of writers and artists.

Cafes and Coffee Houses - Many tourists visit Leidse Square to patronize the popular coffeehouses of Amsterdam. The De Rokerij coffeehouse is one of the largest and most popular on the square. Long lines of tourists, waiting to get inside, snake around the square on weekends. Another favorite venue is the political, “beatnik” style café, De Balie that attracts intellectuals looking for other like-minded souls to share a beer and a heated political discussion.

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