The Black Heritage Amsterdam Tour is a very exciting tour that serves to inform, inspire and educate visitors about the history and contributions of people of African descent in the Netherlands. The tours are presented by tour guide founder Jennifer Tosch who gives a unique, historical, yet entertaining vintage saloon boat journey through history, from an 'Afrikacentric' point of view. Traveling along Amsterdam's 'canal belt' (Dutch: Grachtengordel), she reveals the hidden histories of the city and the African presence in historical buildings, canal house museums, city landmarks, and fine art.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Tosch, a Surinamese-American first came to Amsterdam for an intensive two-week postcolonial history course held at the Black Europe Summer School (BESS). While in Amsterdam, she did research about her mother who had lived and studied in the Netherlands for several years just after World War II.
The inspiration for the tours first came not only from the transformative experience Tosch had as a student of the BESS, but also from a void that she encountered regarding positive narratives about the presence and contributions of the African Diaspora in the Netherlands. After sharing her experiences with Ricki Stevenson, a close friend who started the successful Black Paris Tours, she firmly believed she could contribute her share to the process of unearthing the lives of black hidden histories in Europe. Stevenson encouraged and inspired her to develop the tour. Six months later Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours was born.
The tour starts in the heart of Amsterdam at the National Monument near the Dam Square. Seeing the city from the canals is the best way to get acquainted with this historic place. While exploring the African legacies of the past and contemporary Dutch culture, boaters pass several historically and culturally significant landmarks that include the West India House, Anton de Kom’s House, the Anne Frank House, the Hermitage Museum and more.
The tour continues along more historical landmarks that include the Maritime Museum where a replica of a 18th century VOC ‘cargo’ ship is docked. Participants of the extended tour can get off the boat here for a guided tour inside the VOC ship.
The boat tour ends near the Tropenmuseum, from which point you can take a short walk to the National Slavery Monument inside Oosterpark for the conclusion. Following the tour, Tosch usually takes participants to a local Afro-Dutch restaurant and to visit the Dappermarkt, one of the oldest and largest open markets in Amsterdam.
For more information or to book a tour, visit BlackHeritageTours.com.