The Jordaan in golden the age
westerkerkThe first occupants of the Jordaan had it rather good. The in 1602 set up VOC brought a lot of work. There is a demand for craftsmen, tailors, carpenters and other supplier, but also to officers and sailors. The Brouwersgracht is with its drawbridges easy accessible for the large cargo liners. In the warehouses a part of the colonial products is stored. Because of this there starts an industrial area with beer breweries, paper mills and little factories. The bakeries on the Anjeliersgracht (now Westerstraat) provides the trade fleet with rusk (scheepsbeschuit).

The living density of the Jordaan becomes more intensive. House owners renting out their attics, cellars and small rooms to complete families. Ingenious solutions are being made against the housing shortage. A roof is lifted and a new floor is placed between it. Because the houses become higher, the streets seem to become narrower. Houses also are split up in a front- and a back-house. A long narrow alley makes the backhouse accessible. Closets are being converted to beds, the so called 'bedstee'. The youngest child sleeps in the 'rolcoets', the bottom drawer of the cupboard.

The rich of the 17th century believed strongly in the bible and puts much money in building of churches and care for the poor. Because of this there where many small 'hofjes' (courtyards with small houses) for widows and singles in the Jordaan. In 1930 there where 58 'hofjes' in Amsterdam, from which no less than 21 where situated in the Jordaan.  

goudsbloemstraatIn the 17th century there where built two large churches, the Westerkerk (Western church) and Noorderkerk (Northern church).

In 1620 they laid the first stone for the Westerkerk, a church for the reformed occupants of the 'grachtengordel' (the big canals). In 1631 the first church service is already kept, but the 85 meters high tower is completed 7 years later. On the top of the tower proudly shines the emperor crown of emperor Maximiliaan of Austria. The emperor donated the city the crown after he returned healed from a pilgrimage journey to Amsterdam. In the same Westerkerk Rembrandt van Rijn is buried in 1669.

In the same year 1620 in the northern part of the Jordaan the first stone is laid for the Noorderkerk. In a record time of only three years, the church is completed. Beside the church a cemetery is build with surrounding a stonewall with two gates.

In the golden century also the annual free-market in September does it's entrance. These existed of a village fair on the Westermarkt and a market where the people of the Jordaan gathered their household goods. The village fair and market are disappeared now, but still in September the Jordaan festival is organised.