A Tourist’s Guide to Ketterdam: Places to Visit and Avoid

Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom make Ketterdam seem like a miserable place to stay, but the tourists there say otherwise.

Fantasy Fiction Young Adult




While the constant misfortune befalling the protagonists of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom make Ketterdam seem like a miserable – and dangerous – place to stay, the number of tourists that make their appearance throughout the series demonstrate that the city is not only a hotspot of crime, but also, perhaps, a fun place for a vacation. The following lists four ideal tourist destinations outside of the Barrel – the location of Ketterdam’s casinos and brothels – and four places that people would be better off avoiding. Minor spoilers for the series may follow.



Visit – The Boeksplein

Ketterdam’s university is home to Boeksplein, four libraries and Scholar’s Fountain. Tourists interested in books will find plenty to read, while others can enjoy Boeksplein’s decorations, which include many gargoyles. Stressed students will find many places to study, and the Boeksplein also includes a collection of rare books. Book lovers everywhere should mark this location on their maps.


Avoid – Hellgate

Hellgate is a prison, so it is possible that the misbehaving tourist might find themself here against their will, but all who are not prison aficionados would be better off finding someplace else. Hellgate does offer the Hellshow, where prisoners battle various animals and are occasionally eaten, but this type of entertainment is not for everyone, and is probably not entertaining to the participants. Overall, Hellgate is better suited for tourist sharks, who can enjoy eating the bodies of fallen prisoners, which are tossed into the water.


Visit – Geldrenner Hotel

While the books show only a few sections of Geldrenner Hotel, it is clearly a place of luxury. If visitors have plenty of money to spare, this is the place that they will want to stay. There is at least one suite that contains a sitting room, a dining room, and a miscellaneous room with a piano. Room service appears to be excellent, and the communal baths have their own waterfalls. Really, visitors could probably have a satisfying trip just exploring what else this hotel has to offer.


Avoid – Council of Tides Watch Towers

The Council of Tides reside in these locations, controlling the harbors and exerting their abilities to influence trade and protect the city. Despite their incredible powers, the councils place of work is not exactly crawling with interesting sites. The members of the Council of Tides are secret and reveal themselves to the public rarely. They are also not above flattening buildings with waves if their will is denied, so the argumentative visitor may be better off staying away. While the air of mystery may be enough to attract some, a trip to the Watch Towers is unlikely to pay off.




Visit – The Church of Barter

The Church of Barter, where citizens of Ketterdam come to worship their God, Ghezen, is shaped like a giant hand. Its architecture makes it an interesting visit, but it also serves as an auction house, where people can auction off practically anything. Visitors would do well to avoid becoming the object of such an auction. The Church of Barter can serve as a reminder that, despite a visitor’s attempts to avoid it, they will come in contact with Ketterdam’s corrupted center. Visitors trying to pretend otherwise would do well to admire the building and move on. For others, their visit to the Church of Barter may be fairly eye-opening


Avoid – Sweet Reef

While the name suggests a land full of candy and pastries, the Sweet Reef is just a collection of silos containing sugar, owned by the merchant Van Eck. The sugar is only reachable by climbing twenty stories into the air, and even if a visitor was willing to make the climb, the entire area is guarded to keep out intruders. While some of the other items on this list have their charms, this place has practically nothing.



Visit – The Exchange

The center of Ketterdam’s trade, people looking to make a profit, or watch other people make a profit, would enjoy a visit to the Exchange. During the day, it is crowded and loud, and the visitor can come to enjoy – or not – a day of trade. For the people of Ketterdam, collecting money is a form of worship, so it follows that their center of trade would be fairly impressive. At night, however, the Exchange may find itself a hotspot of gang warfare, which visitors should probably avoid.


Avoid – Black Veil Island

An old disused cemetery, Black Veil Island was abandoned in favor of the Reaper’s Barge during the Queen’s Lady Plague. Visitors interested in wandering cemeteries and investigating rumors of hauntings, or even people interested in large quantities of mist may find Black Veil Island interesting, but others should seek their entertainment elsewhere.

Know of any other spots to visit or avoid in Ketterdam? Share them in the comments, along with your favorite Ketterdam facts!