The canals of Amsterdam are, together with those of Venice, the most famous in the world. They are an indispensable part of the beauty of the Dutch capital. They are timeless spectators of everyday life who reveal to tourists the essence of the city. Not for nothing is it common to discover visitors photographing them from any of the 1,500 bridges that cross them.
the belt amsterdam canals
Enjoying a boat ride through the canals of Amsterdam is one of the most recommended activities that can be enjoyed in this city. But you can also walk along its banks and contemplate them from another point of view. We already talked about the most important channels.
1. Singel, one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam
The Singel was raised during the Middle Ages as a moat. It was created with the intention of protecting the city from possible attacks, both by land and by water. At that time it was called the Canal de la Ciudad, for a few centuries later it was renamed Canal del Rey. However, none of those names have endured to this day.
Over time, it has become the point that delimits the old area. Thus keeping it separate from the urban area built later, that is, the most modern. It is one of the most popular and busiest in the city. This is so since its shores have a multitude of tourist entertainment.
Next to it is what they say is the narrowest house on the planet. Plus, This canal runs partly through the well-known Red Light District, one of the most visited places in the city.
2. Herengratch and Prinsengratch, two historic Amsterdam canals
The area that runs along the Herengratch is one of the richest and most luxurious in the “Venice of the North”. Although the Singel was the first to be raised, the Herengratch is more popular. During the 17th century, its banks were adorned by hundreds of ostentatious mansions belonging to merchants who had made their fortune.
For its part, The Prinsengratch is the longest canal in all of Amsterdam.. On our way along its sides we will come across one of the must-see museums: the Anne Frank House. Building in which said young woman was forced to hide with her family during the Nazi occupation and which today serves as a tribute to the victims of the holocaust.
Continuing our way along this channel we will arrive at the Homonumenta small space built to remember all the homosexuals who have been persecuted and condemned throughout history for their sexual condition.
3. Keizersgratch and Singelgratch, places of interest
On the banks of the Keizersgratch is the famous House of Heads. It is said that the 6 heads that decorate its façade represent classical gods. But the popular legend assures that they are real and that they belonged to 6 thieves who were trying to rob the house when they were surprised by a maid who was armed with a huge knife. Rumors aside, it is one of the most photographed elevations in the city.
For his part, the Singlegartch is not to be confused with the Singel, Even if they have similar names. It acts as a border barrier between the Grachtengordel neighborhood and the rest. This area is known as the canal area. Due to its unique physiognomy, it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
“Every journey, even if it is 1000 leagues, begins with a single step.”
4. Zwanenburgwal, home to illustrious figures
Zwanenburgwal is both the name of the canal and the street that accompanies it. Both make up one of the most valued neighborhoods by city dwellers and tourists.. And it is that, dozens of relevant personalities have stayed here, including the fabulous Flemish painter Rembrandt. As if this were not enough, the philosopher Baruch Spinoza also lived there for a time.
As a historical curiosity, it should be noted that this territory remained practically empty during World War II. This circumstance was due to the transfer of many of its inhabitants to Nazi concentration camps.