Favorite thing: Be sure to take a good look at how much the houses and buildings in Amsterdam lean. Lots of them are either leaning forward, like the ones in this picture, or to one side or the other to a significant degree. I just couldn't seem to get over it, and was constantly stopping and exclaiming over it.
Amsterdam grew along the banks of the Amstel River and learnt to live and draw its livelihood from water. Its fortunate geographical position and the hard work of its people made the fishing village to became a large trading center, during the era of the famous West India and East India Companies.
In the course of the 17th century the crescent shape of Amsterdam grew, because people formed more semi-circular canals, making the city wall and the city gates further and further on the outskirts.
The city is known also like the Venice of the North, because of its 100 kilometers of canals, linked by about 400 stone bridges, and its about 90 islands.
Favorite thing: Amsterdam's architecture delighted me. My idea of typical Dutch house is narrow, tall, with lots of windows, steep rooftop and a kind of look that reminds me of doll's houses - i was fascinated walking around streets and kept looking up. The steep roofs make a unique wonderful rooftop scenario, mainly in those charming tree lined streets by the cannels.
In the old days the adresses were not as good as they are today. The streets were known for famous buildings in it. Like church street or station street.
But the less known areas had no street names. The houses were identified by a stone in the facade. This stone had a picture of something, sometimes related to the business or the people living there.
This example, a calf, could be from a butcher or a rich landowner.
In fact there is not much known about this stone. Not the designer, or the year it was made, nothing.......
You can find it at : Zeedijk 43
Favorite thing: There are obvious architectural challenges to overcome when you consider the below sea level location of Amsterdam, but they've done a terrific job in restoring many of the older structures. As you stroll the city, you're definitely going to be captivated by what's going on at street level and below. The bicycles whizzing by, the attractive people, great shops and beautiful canals will all grab your attention, but be sure to look up and notice the architectural details in the many towers and steeples around the city.
I don't exactly know what the correct term for the distinctive row buildings is. Each building is exceedingly narrow and usually ranges from four to five stories in height. The buildings look very similar until you take the time to examine the roof lines. Almost every building will have a unique gable that points to the use the building had in prior days. Many gables have maratime symbols, while others will feature symbols pointing to the trade of the original owners, such as bakers, butchers, cobblers etc.
This particular view shows the row of buildings as seen across the Damrak. At the time this was our first real view of the city of Amsterdam--little did we know that behind these unassuming looking buildings was the teaming fringes of the redlight district with countless bars, restaurants, coffee houses and sex shops.
Favorite thing: Well after all those Things to do tips, if anybody believes that Amsterdam is an old city with only old buildings, that's not true and so include these photos in my general tips. Just have a look at the high rises near Amsterdam Zuid station.
Amsterdam offers a great mixture between traditions and modernity.
A mixture between red light zones around the station (one of the most famous in the world, I think) and high level culture, great museums (Van Gogh, Rembrandt........)
A mixture between more than 2000 house boats , traditional houses and modern constructions.
Fondest memory: I like very much the variety Amsterdam offers like I mentioned already above. Amsterdam is a modern european metropolis but you don´t feel to be in a overcrowded big city. There´s a lot of quietness as well.
Amsterdam's waterfront has witnessed some dramatic and exciting new construction in recent years. A very new addition to the burgeoning area to the east of the Centraal Station is the brand-spanking new Amsterdam Conservatory - the Conservatorium van Amsterdam - which in April 2008 opened its new building on Oosterdokskade.
The architect, contemporary Dutchman Frits von Dongen, employs a Japanese aesthetic here: note how the hallways are on the exterior of the building, while the classrooms, practice rooms and performing spaces are on the interior.
Underground parking and access is a nice touch, too.
Amsterdam has a wonderful new public library located just to the east of the Centraal Station on Oosterdokskade. There are fascinating contemporary art displays alongside state-of-the-art information technology, and a public cafeteria with wholesome food on one of the upper levels. Comfortable furniture and excellent views of the city make this library a must-see for all those interested in libraries, books, and contemporary architecture!
You might also like to check out my Travelogue for the library - more photos located there.
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