What’s a Hofje?
A hofje is a courtyard of homes built by the wealthy to house the poor, the old, the orphans or the widows. They are hidden from the streets behind a canal house door. Once you open a door to a hofje, there is a lush green courtyard inside of peace and quiet.
Hofjes of the Jordaan
- The Van Brienen Hofje (89 Prinsengracht) is our next door neighbor. A Dutch Baron in the 1700s got himself locked in his own strong room (bank vault). He freaked out and pleaded to God that if he ever got out of this mess he would build a hofje for young catholic couples. In 1797, he bought an old brewery and built this hofje.
- The Hofje of the Sun “Zonshofje” (159 Pinsengracht) is really close to us too. Before it was a hofje it was a secret, hidden church belonging to the mennonites. In 1755 the church was reconstructed as an orphanage and a hofje for older ladies.
- The Karthuizer Hofje (Karthuizersstraat 21-131) is the biggest hofje in all of Amsterdam! It opened its doors in 1651 for 110 women, some of whom had children.
- The Claes Claesz Hofje ((Egelantiersgracht 26) is one of two Hofjes on Egelantiersgracht. It was established for older people and built in the mid 1600s.
- The St. Andrew Hofje (Egelantiersgracht 137-145) is the other more know one on this street. It is the second oldest in Amsterdam finished in 1617.
The Karthuizer Hofje