It's hard to believe that this quiet narrow street was once thriving with medieval life. Although still home to several theatres and companies associated with the financial sector, in the 17th century the Nes housed a busy peasant fish market, a meat market, slum houses and several cloisters.

In the 18th century it was a busy commercial street, known for its book shops, and by the mid 1800s it had become one of the places to go out at night, with cafes, music halls and theatres.

On number 57 there is a plaque marking the city's first Huis van Leeninge, or bank, set up in 1614 to lend "cleyngelt" (literally small change) to the ordinary citizen. The pawnshop still operates and the window is full of pawned watches and jewelry. It also has an auction hall for where uncollected goods are auctioned off.

Before World War II the Frascati theatre at Nes 63 was home to tobacco auctions.

Street names around the Nes hint at Amsterdam's marshy past. On the other side of the canal is Rusland (rush land) and the Brakke Gronde, once the site of a pub and now the Flemish Cultural centre, means brackish ground.