Courtyards, Inner Courts (Hofjes) In Amsterdam, The Netherlands

courtyard Deutzenhofje

Deutzenhofje, courtyard in Amsterdam

Courtyards in Amsterdam come since the 14th century and are typically Dutch. It was an early form of elderly care and housing, an old age pension for poor old people. The old people lived there free. The Amsterdam courtyards emerged from the beguinages occurring since the 12th century in our country (like the Beguine). The flowering period is the 17th and 18th centuries. They were founded and operated by individuals, often wealthy, childless citizens. Common was an almshouse founded from an estate. Most almshouses have the name of the founder. Motives to found a courtyard are so except charity also vanity: the founders wanted to watch stand as benefactors of humanity.