The late August Sunday afternoon we took our canal tour was very busy on the canals. Our commentator informed us the students were partying on the canal as university term commences next day. Rain , alcohol and boats do not mix together and there were several close calls. When the rain was heavy the uni students sheltered their open boats under a bridge, thus closing the canal to water traffic.
I guess we were all young once.
“Have you noticed that Amsterdam’s concentric canals resemble the circles of hell? The middle-class hell, of course, peopled with bad dreams. When one comes from the outside, as one gradually goes through those circles, life — and hence its crimes — becomes denser, darker. Here, we are in the last circle.”
— from “The Fall,” 1956 by Albert Camus (1913-1960)
BIRD’S EYE VIEW Along 62 miles of canals, 1,500 bridges connect 90 islands in Amsterdam’s center. When seen from above, or on a map, the city’s canals clearly resemble not so much concentric circles but concentric semicircles.
Camus’s cynicism did not influence our enjoyment of Amsterdam’s charming waterways and bridges. The city is the farthest thing from hell. With such friendly inhabitants, a very relaxed atmosphere, charming architecture and interesting sights, if Amsterdam is hell, count me in. The canals are delightful; they keep the city damp. It is always cool in town.
Canals, harbors and rivers fill 25% of Amsterdam’s surface area, making it the most watery city in the world. These waterways have been its heart and soul since its founding in 1250. That was year that saw the building of the Dam that gave the city its name. Aeme Stelle Redamme comes from Medieval Dutch; it means Dam in a Watery Area. The canals have also been the source of the city’s wealth.
The city's most famous sight are the 17th-century canals of Amsterdam (in Dutch: 'Grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, they are added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Amsterdam took its name from the river. The city developed out of a small fishing village called "Amstelredam", built in the 13th century alongside a dam at the mouth of the river. The town was granted city rights around 1300. The hamlet developed into the small town "Amsteldam", which later became "Amsterdam".
Amsterdam is situated 2 metres above sea level. The surrounding land is flat as it is formed of large polders. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea through the long North Sea Canal.
Amsterdam has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the grachtengordel. Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings.
You can watch my 2 min 50 sec Video Amsterdam Amstel and Channels part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Amsterdam has been called the 'Venice of the North' for its 100 kilometers of canals,about 90 islands and over 1500 bridges.The three main canals:Herengracht,Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht,dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age,form concentric belts around the city,known as the 'Grachtengordel'.Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings.The canal ring area is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
“The Jews who have arrived would nearly all like to remain here, but learning that they (with their customary usury and deceitful trading with the Christians) were very repugnant to the inferior magistrates, as also to the people having the most affection for you; the Deaconry also fearing that owing to their present indigence they might become a charge in the coming winter, we have, for the benefit of this weak and newly developing place and the land in general, deemed it useful to require them in a friendly way to depart, praying also most seriously in this connection, for ourselves as also for the general community of your worships, that the deceitful race -- such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ -- be not allowed to further infect and trouble this new colony to the detraction of your worships and the dissatisfaction of your worships' most affectionate subjects.”
— from a letter, dated 22.September.1654, from Peter Stuyvesant to the directors of the Dutch West India Company
At Herenmarkt, off Brouwersgracht, is West-Indisch Huis (West India House), which in 1623 became the Dutch West India Company’s headquarters. In the courtyard of is a fountain topped by a bronze of Peter Stuyvesant, the one-legged governor of Nieuw Amsterdam, the Dutch colony on the USA’s east coast that is now New York City.
There's nothing more romantic than going for a wander at night and viewing the many canals all lit up with night lights.
We only got to do this the first night in Amsterdam in between the drizzle. I may have got enough video footage and stills to make a quick video....so stay tuned.
About half of the Netherlands is below sea level, which means that cruise ships depart from Amsterdam and sail through a canal with locks to reach the open seas. If you are on a cruise ship and leaving Amsterdam, be on deck to watch the ship sail to the ocean. There are fascinating things to see everywhere, like wind turbines, locks, other boats. It is one of the most interesting and active ports I have seen while cruising.
These are the white plastic paddleboats you see hapless tourists paddling along bumping into houseboats along the way----it's actually funny to watch them, especially if you are renting a houseboat instead of a hotel room----sitting on your deck watching the folk splashing along---the water is not very clean remember......if interested check out the website---sometimes hard to navigate tho----they also do tours with groups of paddleboats----now that is a scary proposition! Mass traffic jams! This site also accesses their other features so check them out for other canal options...
The Herengracht (Gentleman's Canal) is is the first and the most elegant of the three major canals in the city centre of Amsterdam. The most fashionable part is called the Golden Bend, with many double wide mansions, inner gardens and coach houses on the Keizersgracht
The Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal) is the fourth and the longest of the main canals in Amsterdam. Most of the canal houses along it were built during the Dutch Golden Age of the United Provinces. The bridges over this canal don't connect with the streets in the Jordaan.
Interesting sights along the Prinsengracht include the Noorderkerk (Northern Church), the Noordermarkt (Northern Market), the Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk (Western Church, Amsterdam's tallest church) with the Homomonument (Gay Monument).
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