Everything you ever wanted to know about the Amsterdam canals!
If you can only see one thing during your trip to Amsterdam, make it the canals! Why? Just read on and let us explain. The canal tours in Amsterdam attract more than 3 million passengers each year and with that, it is the busiest attraction in the Netherlands. But, it truly is one of the best. Over 100 kilometers of beautiful canals run through the city center of Amsterdam. There is so much to discover during canal tours in Amsterdam and we’ll explain all the interesting parts right here!
Venice of the North
Amsterdam has more canals than Venice and 3 times more bridges. Impressive right? The canal ring became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010 and is protected ever since. The many canal tours in Amsterdam will take you on a trip through the canals and you will pass countless old bridges, famous landmarks and picturesque merchant houses. So make sure you don’t forget your camera. The most important canals are the Herengracht, the Prinsengracht and the Keizersgracht. You can also find a drained canal in Amsterdam: the Nieuwezijdse Voorburgwal. Because Napoleon’s brother (King of Holland in that time) couldn’t stand the stench of the canal he had it drained and made into a street.
How the canals came to be…
The history of the Amsterdam canals starts in the 16th century. Plans were drawn for the canals to form central belts around the city. They were used to stimulate trade, make transport easier and to reclaim land from the water to expand the city. The waterways became a great source of wealth for Amsterdam. You can still see a lot of history when you are on one of the canal tours in Amsterdam. For instance, in the Middle Ages, a wall was built to defend Amsterdam. Most of it was destroyed in the 19th century, but if you book one of the canal tours in Amsterdam you’ll still see remains of it. The Amsterdam canals were also an inspiration to artists. Monet painted the Zuiderkerk 13 times during his visit to Amsterdam. You can see the exact site when you go on one of the canal tours in Amsterdam with Lovers Canal Cruises.
You can live on the canals!
Amsterdam is the most watery city in the world, with canals and harbors filling a full quarter of the surface of the city. Around 1850 there was a big shortage of living space in Amsterdam which gave people the fantastic idea to live on the water. More than 2500 houseboats can be found in Amsterdam. Some more than 100 years old! Even houseboat hotels exist. The Bloemenmarkt is a houseboat borne flower market. You’ll pass all these amazing sights while enjoying a drink on one of the canal tours in Amsterdam. But there is not just life on the canals, there is also life in the canals. Twenty different type of fish and many crabs can be found in the canals. Just look at the water during one of the canal cruises in Amsterdam and maybe you can spot them.
But are they clean?
10.000 bikes are fished out of the canals each year. That comes down to 50 each day! Yet the canals have never been cleaner than they are now. The sewer no longer ends in de canals, the quality of the water is checked at all times, the boats used for canal tours in Amsterdam are getting environmental friendlier every year and there are even swimming competitions in the canals. The beauty of the Amsterdam canals is unprecedented and definitely worth a visit for everybody. So don’t hesitate and book your canal cruise in Amsterdam right now!