Amsterdam is known for its picturesque canals, rich history, and party scene. As a local who lives in Amsterdam, I set out to find some of the most haunted places in Amsterdam. After all, the city’s long history is filled with many historical events and wars, but there isn’t much out there.
After a year of searching and talking to locals, I’ve discovered that some of the most beautiful places in Amsterdam are the most haunted. It is said that water provides a conduit to spirits, and the Amsterdam canals are plentiful.
Walk with me as I explore some of the most haunted places in Amsterdam, but be careful, a black shadow figure is known to wander the streets behind you at night…
- Most Haunted Places in Amsterdam
- 1. Dam Square
- 2. Vierschaar (Judiciary) in the Royal Palace
- 3. The Blood House
- 4. The Waag, Nieuwmarkt
- 5. Blood Street
- 6. Spooky Street (Spooksteeg) or “Ghost Alley”
- 7. The Rembrandt House Museum
- 8. The Begijnhof
- 9. The Spinhuis (Spinning house)
- 10. The Amstel Hotel
- 11. The Tuschinski Theatre (Pathe)
- 12. The Schreierstoren
- 13. The Oude Kerk
- 14. The Willet-Holthuysen Museum
- 15. Montelbaan Tower
- 16. Black Matthew
Most Haunted Places in Amsterdam
1. Dam Square
Dam Square is one of the most visited and most haunted places in Amsterdam. During the day you’ll see tourists wandering around the shops and Royal Palace. But what many people don’t know is that Dam Square was the site of hundreds of murders.
Dam Square was the official location of public executions, after their fate was determined inside the Royal Palace (read the next location for more). There were thousands of suspected witches burned in the middle of this square as well as heretics and other “sinners.”
If you look closely at the ground on the Northern end of the square, you can find a memorial to the shooting that took place during the liberation of Amsterdam on May 7, 1945. German soldiers fired machine guns into a large crowd who were celebrating the end of the war. Over 30 people were killed during this horrible act.
Rumor has it that the souls whose lives were taken from them still wander around the square poking visitors and whispering words in their ears late at night.
2. Vierschaar (Judiciary) in the Royal Palace
Before burning at the stake or being executed, people would be sentenced to death in this very room located in the Royal Palace/Town Hall. The Vierschaar, or Judiciary, is an ornate room on the main level. It is covered with statues representing guilt, remorse, judgment, and death.
Here, the judges and alderman would sentence a defendant after a trial. If the defendant was found guilty, they would be taken directly outside the doors to Dam Square to meet their fate in front of their peers.
When I visited the Vierschaar I felt a chill, as though I was also being judged. The room is beautiful but intimidating. You can feel the sorrow of those who were sentenced to death in these halls.
3. The Blood House
One of my personal favorites, the “Blood House” is one of Amsterdam’s most notoriously haunted buildings. It was a former home of a mayor who went mad and used his own blood to write on the walls.
I’ve spoken with many locals about the Blood House and the story stays the same. The mayor of Amsterdam who was also an ambassador, named Coenraad van Beuningen, was extremely successful. But once he moved into the home his demeanor changed.
The mayor painted satanic and Kabbalistic signs all over the house, inside and out. Legends say he used his own blood. The crazy part is that there are bloody symbols all across the building, including up on the top floor.
How could the mayor reach that high? My theory is that the house took the mayor, and has taken others the same way, and the blood stains are left by the souls taken there.
4. The Waag, Nieuwmarkt
The Waag, a historic building from the 15th century that was once a weigh house, is now a popular restaurant. What many diners don’t realize is that it is one of the most haunted places in Amsterdam.
You see, the Waag hosted infamous witch trials in the 17th century. Many innocent people, mostly women, were accused of practicing witchcraft and subjected to harsh interrogations and trials.
Many women were tortured inside the Waag and then executed. One woman, Claesgen Soetgens, was accused of witchcraft and ultimately executed here. Her spirit, along with others who met a similar fate, is believed to linger within the building.
Visitors to the Waag have reported experiencing eerie sensations, hearing unexplained sounds, and witnessing apparitions. Some claim to have seen the ghostly figure of a woman in the building thought to be Claesgen or one of the other unfortunate victims of the witch trials.
Just around the corner from this eerie building is the notorious “Blood Street”…
5. Blood Street
Bloedstraat, or “Blood Street” is a picturesque narrow street tucked into Amsterdam’s Red Light District. But don’t let its beauty fool you, this street has a dark and mysterious past making it one of the most haunted places in Amsterdam.
One of the main reasons why Bloedstraat is believed to be haunted is its connection to a notorious figure in Dutch history, Janus de Winter. Janus de Winter was a feared and ruthless criminal who was well-known during the 17th century. He was known for theft, smuggling, and even murder.
According to the legends, Janus de Winter was killed in Bloedstraat. Legend says that he was betrayed by his own gang members and brutally killed on the street, leaving his blood staining the cobblestones. The grisly event left a lasting imprint on the street and contributed to its eerie reputation.
But that’s not all. Locals say that Bloedstraat got its name because the blood of executed prisoners would drain from Nieuwmarkt to the canals through this street. And a historic monastery used to stand on Blood Street where the “Council of Blood” would meet to discuss the fate of accused criminals.
When I visited Bloedstraat at night, I felt incredibly uneasy, as though I was being watched or accompanied by someone I couldn’t see. Others claim to have seen shadowy figures or heard disembodied voices, adding to the haunted aura of the area.
6. Spooky Street (Spooksteeg) or “Ghost Alley”
Another haunted street in Amsterdam that is tucked in the Red Light District is Spooksteeg, the fabled “Ghost Alley.” This street is said to be haunted by a women named Helena.
Helena is Amsterdam’s most famous ghost. She was a tanner’s daughter who was in love with a sailor. Unfortunately, the handsome sailor fell in love with her sister, Dina. Helena was so jealous that she threw her sister into the cellar, which killed her.
Although Helena disguised the act as an accident, the guilt followed her. Helena eventually married the sailor and told him on her deathbed that she killed Dina and asked for forgiveness. The sailor refused and cursed her soul to roam the street in misery for the rest of eternity.
Local legend notes that on the 100-year anniversary of her death, people heard screams on the street where the tannery once stood.
The gates to Spooksteg close at night, so if you want to walk the alley you’ll need to go before 6pm. Some people say the gates close for the people who live there, but I believe its to keep Helena in.
7. The Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum was once the home of the famous artist, Rembrandt van Rijn. While the museum is filled with Rembrandt’s works, visitors have also reported feeling a ghostly presence in the building.
Rembrandt lived in the house from 1639 to 1658 while he created many of his iconic paintings. He experienced both triumphs and tragedies during his time there, including financial difficulties, the loss of loved ones, and a decline in popularity. Despite these challenges, Rembrandt’s passion for art persisted.
Legend has it that Rembrandt’s spirit remains tied to the house, and his ghost is occasionally witnessed by visitors and staff. Some have reported seeing a shadowy figure resembling Rembrandt wandering through the rooms or catching a glimpse of his spectral reflection in mirrors.
Rembrandt’s ghost is known to create some paranormal phenomena, such as moving brushes or the scent of paint lingering in the air. Some believe that the ghostly occurrences are a manifestation of Rembrandt’s undying commitment to his craft as if he continues to create and oversee the artistic legacy of the house.
You can tour the Rembrandt Museum and maybe get a glimpse of Rembrandt’s ghost!
8. The Begijnhof
The Begijnhof is a hidden courtyard in the heart of Amsterdam that dates back to the 14th century. While it is a peaceful oasis in the bustling city, some visitors have reported feeling a sense of unease while walking through the area.
The Begijnhof was originally founded in the 14th century as a sanctuary for the Beguines, a group of religious women who lived a semi-monastic lifestyle. Over the centuries, the Begijnhof has witnessed numerous events, including religious persecution, political upheavals, and epidemics, which have contributed to its reputation as one of the most haunted places in Amsterdam.
One popular ghost story concerns the statue of a wooden Christ that stands near the entrance of the Begijnhof chapel. Legends say that the statue has been seen moving on its own as if shedding tears or changing positions. Some believe that the spirit of a sorrowful nun inhabits the statue.
There have also been reports of ghostly apparitions and mysterious sounds within the Begijnhof. Visitors have claimed to see shadowy figures roaming the courtyard or have heard disembodied voices whispering in the silence. The exact origins and identities of these apparitions remain shrouded in mystery, adding to the eerie ambiance of the place.
The Begijnhof is free to visit, but please be respectful. Women still live and work here and it is important to respect them. The doors to the hidden courtyard close at 6 pm.
9. The Spinhuis (Spinning house)
Within the UNESCO portion of Amsterdam, near the Red Light District, you’ll find the next spot on our most haunted places in Amsterdam list, the Spinhuis.
This old spinning house has a wretched history dating back to the late 1500s. It was founded as a type of penitentiary for women who were sent there to be disciplined and reformed. Many crimes were for adultery.
The building actually burnt down in the mid-1600s, but was rebuilt on the same spot.
It is rumored that the ghost of a young girl who had fallen in love with a priest and ended up in the Spinhuis haunts the halls. The priest committed suicide after their love was discovered.
10. The Amstel Hotel
The Amstel Hotel is a luxury hotel that has been in operation since 1867. While the hotel is known for its opulence and grandeur, some guests have reported seeing the ghost of a woman dressed in a white gown.
The ghost is believed to be that of a former chambermaid named Doris. She worked at the hotel in the early 20th century and is said to have fallen in love with a wealthy hotel guest. The guest promised to take her away with him, but he never returned.
Heartbroken, Doris took her own life by jumping from the roof of the hotel. Her ghost is said to still haunt the hotel, wandering through the hallways and occasionally appearing to guests.
Visitors to the Amstel Hotel have reported feeling a chill in the air and seeing strange apparitions. Some have also reported hearing footsteps and the sound of a woman crying. The hotel’s management denies the existence of any ghosts, but the stories and legends surrounding Doris only add to the hotel’s mystique and allure.
Brave enough to see if the legends are true? Book your stay at the Amstel Hotel. It s a beautiful place for a visit and you might just meet a ghost.
11. The Tuschinski Theatre (Pathe)
The Tuschinski Theatre is a grand movie theater that was built in 1921. While the theater is known for its Art Deco design, it is also one of Amsterdam’s most haunted places. Many workers and visitors have reported seeing the ghost of Abraham Tuschinski, its founder.
Abraham Tuschinski was a Polish-Jewish immigrant who came to Amsterdam in the early 1900s. He became a successful film distributor and opened the Tuschinski Theatre in 1921. The theatre quickly became a popular destination for moviegoers, but tragedy struck when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands during World War II.
The Nazis seized control of the theatre and used it as a propaganda center. Abraham Tuschinski never got to see his beloved theatre restored to its former glory. He died in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp before the war ended. Legend has it that his ghost still haunts the theatre, watching over his creation.
Visitors to the Tuschinski Theatre have reported seeing the ghost of Abraham Tuschinski walking through the halls. Some have also reported feeling a cold presence or hearing unexplained noises. The theatre’s haunted history only adds to its allure and makes it a must-visit destination for those who love cinema and are intrigued by the supernatural.
12. The Schreierstoren
The Schreierstoren, which translates to “Weeping Tower,” is one of Amsterdam’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 15th century. Today it is a popular cafe restaurant, but it is also one of the most haunted places in Amsterdam.
The tower was used as a defense tower during the city’s early days, and it is said that the ghost of a young woman in white still haunts the tower.
Legend has it that in the 16th century, a young woman named Trijn Jacobs lived in the tower with her husband, who was a sailor. One day, her husband went to sea and never returned. Heartbroken, Trijn climbed to the top of the tower weeping and jumped to her death. It is said that her ghost still lingers in the tower, weeping for her lost love.
Visitors to the Schreierstoren have reported feeling a sense of sadness and grief while up in the tower. Others swear that they hear a woman crying or moaning, even though no one else is around.
13. The Oude Kerk
The Oude Kerk, also known as the Old Church, is the oldest building in Amsterdam and one of the most haunted places in Amsterdam.
The Oude Kerk dates back to the 14th century and has seen a number of historic and horrific events. Just outside its doors, there have been religious and political upheavals, plagues, and wars.
The Oude Kerk’s burial grounds are a source of the hauntings because they took a sharp turn. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the church was a popular burial site for wealthy Amsterdam citizens. But as the city grew, the churchyard became overcrowded, and many bodies were buried in mass graves. It is believed that the spirits of these buried individuals still haunt the churchyard.
The church is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a sailor. The sailor was killed during a fight in the nearby red-light district and was brought to the church for burial. Legend has it that his ghost still wanders around the church, seeking vengeance for his untimely death.
Visitors to the Oude Kerk have reported feeling a sense of unease while walking through the church. Some have also reported seeing unexplained shadows and hearing mysterious noises. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there’s no denying that the Oude Kerk has a spooky and eerie atmosphere that adds to its charm and allure.
14. The Willet-Holthuysen Museum
The Willet-Holthuysen Museum in Amsterdam is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former resident, Louisa Holthuysen. Louisa and her husband, Abraham Willet, were prominent members of Amsterdam’s elite society in the 19th century. The illustrious couple lived in the mansion, which is now the museum, and filled it with their extensive collection of art and antiques.
After Abraham’s death, Louisa continued to live in the mansion and became a recluse. She rarely left the house and was known to be fiercely protective of her possessions. Legend has it that after Louisa’s death in 1889, her ghost remained in the house, guarding her beloved collection.
Visitors to the Willet-Holthuysen Museum have reported seeing the ghost of a woman dressed in black walking through the halls. Some have also reported feeling a cold presence and hearing unexplained footsteps. It is believed that Louisa’s spirit still lingers in the mansion, watching over her precious belongings.
15. Montelbaan Tower
The Montelbaan Tower is one of the oldest and most haunted places in Amsterdam. Built in the early 1500s as a defense tower to protect the city from attacks, it has seen a lot of battles and death.
The Montelbaan Tower served as a defensive watchtower and later as a bell tower for the nearby Montelbaanstoren neighborhood. Its strategic location along a canal made it a crucial structure in Amsterdam’s defense system.
One tale associated with the Montelbaan Tower involves a ghostly soldier who is said to haunt the tower. According to the legend, during a tumultuous period in Amsterdam’s history, a soldier stationed in the tower fell in love with a local woman. Their forbidden romance ended tragically when the soldier was killed in battle. It is believed that his restless spirit still wanders the tower, longing for his lost love.
Another tale is that an entire family who was running to the tower for safety was killed on June 2. Locals say that every year on that date the ghosts of the family who were killed reappear to relive their last moments.
Visitors to the Montelbaan Tower have reported unusual occurrences, such as hearing footsteps on the stairs, feeling sudden drops in temperature, or witnessing shadowy figures in the corners of their vision. Some have even claimed to catch fleeting glimpses of a ghostly soldier wandering through the tower.
16. Black Matthew
The most haunted place in Amsterdam is actually not a location, but a spirit. The spirit known as “Black Matthew” has been wandering the streets of Amsterdam since the 1200s.
The legend says that a vagabond named Matthew was a magician and a thief who gambled and tricked and even used dark magic to win. But one day he played with the devil and lost.
His ghost roams the old center of Amsterdam, testing tourists and locals at their game of chance. If a shady character bumps into you on the street, it might just be Black Matthew following you around.
Want to learn more about hauntings in Amsterdam? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or check out my walk-through of the Nieuwe Ooster cemetery in Amsterdam: