The Golden Bend is a stretch of Herengracht in Amsterdam's Canal Zone, where the houses are larger and more stately than the tall narrow houses that form the archetypical image of the city. Catering to a wealthy upper class of merchants and bankers, the lots along what is now the Golden Bend were sold between 1664 and 1668. Most purchasers acquired two adjacent lots, allowing them to build a much larger house than was typical in the rest of central Amsterdam.
Some interesting facts:
- The entire Canal Zone is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Golden Bend is the stretch of Herengracht between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat.
- The Golden Bend was part of the fourth and last stage of development of the Canal Zone, which was an urban expansion plan designed to accommodate the explosive growth of the city’s population, which increased sixfold between 1575 and 1665.
- Many of the carriage houses and servant quarters built behind the stately homes along the Golden Bend are now restaurants, discotheques and bars on Reguliersdwarsstraat, in the Rembrandtplein entertainment district.
- Today few people live along the Golden Bend, most properties having been converted into offices. One exception is the Mayor of Amsterdam, whose official residence is at 502 Herengracht, also known as The House with the Columns, which is a typical exponent Dutch Baroque style of architecture, which was in vogue when the Golden Bend was developed.
- The name Golden Bend derives from the riches of the area and a small angle along this stretch of canal.
For more in-depth coverage of the Golden Bend, read Issue 41 of Dutch the magazine.
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