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In quite a unique manner, the history of Amsterdam is reflected in the past and present of this building. There were originally two convents here, St. Cecily's Convent at the northern part of the property and St. Katherine's Convent to the south. The Grand was built in three sections, as is still evident from the two courtyards and central element, and in its design we can detect the basic structure of the two convents. The tiny tower perched so pertly on the north side of the rooftop is reminiscent of St. Cecily's Convent founded here in 1411. Amsterdam was a city filled with monasteries and convents. On old maps of the city, you can pick them out by their courtyards and walled gardens, always marked by a chapel. Even in the twentieth century, their remains are still in evidence in the floor plan of The Grand, in the patterns of several other parts of the city, and in any number of street names in this vicinity.
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