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Diamond Walk

Afstand/Distance: 5 km
Start- en eindpunt/Start and finish: Amsterdam Centrum

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Deze route komt uit/You can find this route in: City Walks Amsterdam, 50 adventures on foot (uitgeverij/publisher Elmar)
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City Walks Amsterdam
City Walks Amsterdam
Angela Thomas

Amsterdam has been a major diamond center since the 16th century, thanks to the influence of Sephardic Jews, who were prevented by law from practicing many other professions and so turned to the diamond trade. Today there are about 12 surviving diamond factories in town; this walk takes in three worth stepping into.

Take tram 6 to the Plantage Doklaan stop, then walk northwest along Plantage Doklaan, across the bridge onto Anne Frankstraat. Turn right on Nieuwe Herengracht and then left up Rapenburg. Turn left on Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat and you'll come to the huge Gassan Diamond Factory (#173-175).

Opened in 1880 by the Jewish Boas family, it became the largest diamond factory in Europe, with more than 300 cutters employed. Free tours last around 90 minutes, during which a guide shows you the cutting and grading processes and offers you the chance to buy at the end.

From here, turn left down Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat and right on Jodenbreestraat. Continue on as the road changes to St. Antoniesbreestraat, then turn left at Nieuwe Hoogstraat and follow the road all the way to Dam Square.

Here, on the corner of Dam Square, you'll find the Amsterdam Diamond Center (Rokin #1), where you can purchase high-end diamonds and jewelry and have goldsmiths create a piece according to your own design.

Walk up Rokin to arrive at Muntplein. Continue on to Vijzelstraat, and walk all the way to the end. Cross over the Weteringlaan roundabout and then turn right on Stadhouderskade. Turn left onto Jan Luikenstraat, left again onto Hobbemastraat, and right onto Paulus Potterstraat, where you'll find Coster Diamonds (#2-6) on the right-hand side.

Coster, founded in 1840, is one of Amsterdams oldest remaining diamond factories, and it was the first to use steam engines for cutting rocks. It was here that the famous Kohinoor (Mountain of Light) and Dresden diamonds were cut; both are now in European royal collections. On display is the Lucullan diamond, one of the world's largest unpolished gems.

Continue down Paulus Potterstraat to pick up trams 2 or 5.