Overlooking the Amstel River in Amsterdam is a building with a plain gray facade, which upon closer inspection, is marked with strange reddish-brown symbols that are said to be the bloody handiwork of a mad ambassador who once lived in the house.
The tall, stark house in the canal belt, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was originally built in the early 1670s for soap manufacturer and businessman, Gijsbert Dumber, although the original owner is hardly remembered today. Although it is sometime known as the Gijsbert Dumber Huis, it is far better known as the “The House with The Blood Stains” thanks to one Coenraad van Beuningen.
Van Beuningen was a six-time mayor of Amsterdam and a successful ambassador by the time he moved into Amstel 216. Unfortunately, despite all of his political achievements and social status, van Beuningen’s mind began to falter in his final years. It’s said that van Beuningen may have suffered from bipolar disorder, but the cause is unclear. At the height of this illness, van Beuningen began painting arcane Kabbalistic signs on the lined gray facade of his building. The rumor was that he was painting them in his own blood.
The marks are much faded but can still be seen on the outside of the private residence by eagle-eyed visitors. It is only rumored that the paint was van Beuningen’s actual blood, but whether or not this is true, it certainly looks like it.
This building is private property so please be respectful.
Know Before You Go
In Amsterdam centrum on the Amstel River near several means of public transportation. This is a private residence.