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Chinatown in Amsterdam - The Red Light District Amsterdam Guide - discover the secrets!
This is the book you should read before you visit the Red Light District!

Chinatown in Amsterdam

Date: 7. jul 2018.

The Chinese people arrived in the Netherlands around 1900. They were mostly the seafarers and stokers who worked on the steamships of the big shipping companies. The old Chinatown in Amsterdam was located around the Binnen Bantammerstraat and the residents of Amsterdam became familiar with the Chinese when they started selling peanut biscuits on the streets in 1931.

The first Chinese restaurant that was named “Kong Hind” was open in Binnen Bantammerstraat. The Chinese population started growing after the World War II and this street remained the center of the Chinese in the Netherlands. The street had the string of restaurants, gambling houses and opium dens that were only open to the Chinese population.

Relatively new Chinatown in Amsterdam that evolved around the 1980s is now the largest Chinatown in the Netherlands and its still growing. It is settled just a few streets away from the famous De Wallen and has already transformed this Red Light District into a friendlier place for tourists and locals to enjoy Asian culture and great food. It is right beside the bustling Market square of Nieuwmarkt and it consists of the number of city blocks crammed with Asian markets, restaurants and shops. The name itself may be a little inappropriate these days because beside the Chinese there are also residents from many other Asian cultures such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Amsterdam Chinese are a very well represented expat group within the city however, and here you will even see street signs in Chinese as well as Dutch.

Most Chinatowns have an open space for collective celebrations. In Amsterdam, the collective celebrations are being held at Nieuwmarkt square with its iconic De Waag, which used to be the part of a medieval city wall structure. During festive celebrations, Nieuwmarkt square attracts many visitors who turnout to watch various performances especially the lion dance and the dragon dance. Most of the Chinese businesses are housed in traditional Dutch style buildings. However, the shops have incorporated oriental elements into the shop design. In order to see authentic Chinese architecture, you should visit the Zeedijk Buddhist Temple which is also known as Fo Guang Shan He Hua. The temple can be found on the Zeedijk Street in the midst of all the shops and bars but always remains tranquil. This impressive building, with its brightly colored walls and distinctive Chinese roof, is the largest Chinese style Buddhist temple in Europe and has stood here since 2000, when Queen Beatrix herself performed the dedication ceremony.

Chinese markets and souvenir shops can be found dotted throughout this area. Oriental Commodities is the large Chinese supermarket that carries many traditional Asian delicacies. It has many narrow aisles but squeezing your way through here can be worth it because you might find some great deals.

There are a large number of Chinese restaurants which you can recognize by the cooked duck that is almost always hanging in the window which is either exciting or revolting sight, depending on your appetites. Besides the Chinese restaurants, you can also find great Thai restaurants as well as Asian Fusion.