Photo of Cafe In de Waag by Peterhoneyman
Editor’s Note: Pete and Meredith just spent a long weekend in Amsterdam. This is a post from their recent journey.
A little bit of history
In 1488, St. Anthony’s Port – today a weigh house that stands in the center of Nieuwmarkt Square in Amsterdam – opened its doors and became one of the Dutch capital’s original city gates. Later, the building was reconstructed to function as a guild house for surgeons and doctors studying medicine and conducting experiments.
An elaborate octagonal ceiling loomed over the resident medical ampitheater where Amsterdam’s finest practioners could dissect and then study the corpses of recently executed criminals. The general public was welcomed into the demonstrations, and they became as popular as a trip to the movies might be for us today.
In 1632, Rembrandt painted “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” in the guild house ampitheater. Today, you can visit this historic stomping ground simply by stopping into the Cafe In de Waag, a restaurant and bar now housed inside the original weigh station, in the center of Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt Square.
While dinner is a tad expensive here, a Cheapo can purchase a Heineken for €2.50 or a soda for €2.20. The evening that we visited ‘In de Waag,’ we opted for nightcaps (two glasses of wine set us back €8). Since the wait staff wasn’t busy with a crazy dinner rush, we were able to linger long over our drinks and ask lots of questions about Rembrandt’s heyday, and how the building fit in to it all.
While we couldn’t exactly peek into the original room where Rembrandt painted the masterpiece, we felt close enough to the real deal. Considering that the Rijksmuseum‘s admission price is €10 per person, we felt like it was all a pretty good deal and a great Cheapo night out!