What are the most haunted places in Amsterdam? Here are our top five spooky locations in the beautiful Dutch capital.
As the nights are colder, everyone enjoys spending more time at home. We are bundled up on our snug sofas with the sweet scent of hot chocolate filling the room.
The TV is on, your feet are up but wait — don’t get too comfortable, because we are going on an entirely different journey today. A journey through the darkest alleys of Amsterdam.
This is where tortured souls of past lives roam around restlessly at the city’s most haunted places. After all, the history of Amsterdam stretches back almost 800 years and these old and narrow streets have many spooky tales to tell.
Spooksteeg (Ghost Alley)
First stop: Spooksteeg, the oldest part of Amsterdam in the area of the Red Light District. Here one of the city’s oldest ghosts is said to reside. It’s the ghost of a woman called Helena who lived here in the 18th Century with her sister Dina and her father.
One day a sailor fell in love with Dina, which infuriated Helena. Out of jealousy, she threw her sister into the family’s tannery cellar making it seem like an accident — when in reality she killed her.
Helena then went on to marry the sailor but in 1753 she admitted to the murder on her deathbed begging her husband for forgiveness. He was outraged to hear this and cursed her soul to roam restlessly in misery for all eternity.
One hundred years after her death screams were heard at Spooksteeg and sights of Helena’s ghost whining and moaning have been reported in the dark alley ever since.
Bloedstraat (Blood Street)
We’re staying in the Red Light District and walking to one of our next haunted places, Bloedstraat, which connects the market square Nieuwmarkt to one of the oldest canals of the city, Oudezijds Achterburgwal.
It is said that the name of the street stems from the blood of executed prisoners draining down to the canal from Nieuwmarkt.
Another legend has it that ghost sightings are linked to the Franciscan monastery that was located on this site in the 16th Century where the famous Bloedraad (Blood Council) took place under the reign of the Duke of Alba. Many claim that the spirits of those accused of being heretics and subsequently killed are still roaming this street.
From Bloedstraat we’re taking a journey over to Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam where the Royal Palace is located.
During the day you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of this busy square. There are lots of tourists taking pictures and creative street artists trying to earn a bit of money.
At night, however, this historic square has a different vibe to it. During the Spanish Inquisition, many public executions took place here and thousands were accused of witchcraft and burned at the Dam.
Many believe that some tortured souls still haunt this place in the heart of Amsterdam. They remind visitors as well as locals of its gruesome past. The Amsterdam Dungeon, built on site of a 16th Century cemetery, is located nearby and shining a light on this topic.
From the Dam, we take a short walk to Singel to the old spinning house (Het Spinhuis). It was founded in 1597 as a penitentiary for women. Today it is a popular hotel but back then convicted women were kept there and forced to sew garments.
The most famous story surrounding this place is that of the priest and the young girl, who were not able to see each other after falling in love. The priest was devastated and committed suicide — the girl had to spend the rest of her life at the Spinhuis.
It is said that one of the hotel rooms is haunted by the priest’s ghost. Even staff members are spooked by this and refuse to enter it.
The ghost of Black Matthew
After visiting all these haunted places during our nightly walk you’ll probably want to warm up in a bar. But beware, when leaving to go home you might bump into the notorious spirit of Black Matthew!
This creepy story dates back to the 13th Century when a shady character called Matthew, a magician, highwayman and thief spent his days gambling and using dark magic and trickery to make sure he’d always win.
His luck lasted until one fateful day when he met his match in form of the devil. Now his ghost is roaming the narrow streets of Amsterdam hoping for some luck. You better watch out because he is said to appear all over the city!
Have you visited any of these spooky locations? Or do you know of any other haunted places in Amsterdam? Let us know in the comments below.
Feature Image: Lennart Wittstock/Pexels
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2016 but was updated in October 2020 or your reading pleasure.