Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kalverstraat Amsterdam

Kalverstraat is a main artery and a  busy pedestrian shopping street in Amsterdam. It starts at the Dam Square and ends roughly 750 metres further down towards the Munttoren. The tower that was once a main gate to the Medieval moated city. 

From 1486 until 1629 Kalvestreet was a cattle market and its name: Calves Market was derived from it. In this short span one can find the Begijnehof and the Civil Orphanage.

in 1345 a eucharistic miracle was said to have taken place in a home on the Kalverstraat. The event is commemorated by an annual procession and a chapel was build on the spot where the miracle was said to have occurred. Heiligeweg, Holy Road, connects Kalverstraat with the Pilgrimage Chapel and Leidsestraat.

On May 7th 1945, drunk German soldiers shooting from the windows of a building at the corner of Kalverstraat and Dam Square killed nineteen civilians. The civilians were celebrating their liberation from the Nazis and the end of World War II.

The first HEMA department store opened on Kalverstraat in 1926 and since then Kalverstraat has become the most expensive shopping street in the Netherlands. In the Dutch version of Monopoly, Kalverstraat is the most expensive street.

On the busy Kalverstraat there is the sound of at least one street organ. The Dutch street organs are large automated machines that play book music and are equipped with pipes and percussions. In the past the organ grinder turned a large handle that operated both the card feeding machine and the bellows. Most organs are now operated with a small engine allowing the organ grinder more time to collect money. 

In this picture I captured a small boy who appears intrigued by the coins collected in the urn. He could not resist a peek.

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