Amsterdam's oldest home discovered at 527 years

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A 527-year-old home that is believed to be the oldest in Amsterdam has been discovered in the city's famous red-light district, officials said Saturday.

"We have discovered what is believed (to be) Amsterdam's oldest home, dating back to 1485," Boudewijn Oranje, an alderman for the city centre, told AFP.

The wooden structure of the historic house, situated in the Old Side district, lay hidden behind a facade built in the 1800s.

Two years ago, a fire broke out in the building used as a bar, causing extensive damage, Oranje said.

"A council inspector afterwards noticed that there was something special to the heavy wooden structure, which was barely damaged. Samples were taken and sent for testing in Germany," he said.

The tests revealed the home dated back to the 15th century.

Until now, Amsterdam's oldest home was believed to have dated from 1530, situated about a kilometre away.

Called the "wallen", the Dutch word for the banks of the city's old canals, the red-light district has been around since the 1400s, with prostitutes doing business with visiting sailors and tourists ever since.

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