Amsterdam Sights

Grachtengordel (The Canal Belt)

a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The crescent-shaped rings of manmade waterways, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht, (called the Grachtengordel in Dutch) were built around the old heart of town during the 17th-century Golden Age.

Its vista of elegant, gabled mansions fronting long, tree-lined canals forms the image most often associated with Amsterdam. This zone includes the 16th-century Singel canal, hotels of all sizes, restaurants, antiques shops, and attractions like the canal-house museums and the Anne Frank House.

One of the most charming places to stay for tourists and to really experience Amsterdam is at a canal-house hotel, usually established in 300-year-old buildings!

The Golden Age

For the Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, the 17th century was a flourishing age better known as the Golden Age. Trade in spices with the Far East, now Indonesia, brought wealth to the city. On Herengracht and Keizersgracht huge houses were erected. Many of these houses on the canals were richly decorated and beautifully laid out.

The "Gouden Bocht" (Golden Bend) at the Herengracht

World Heritage

a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2010, Amsterdam's 17th century canal ring area inside the Singelgracht became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Amsterdam canal district was a project for a new 'port city' built at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. It comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircles the old town.

This urban extension was the largest and most homogeneous of its time. As a model of large-scale town planning, it served as a reference throughout the world until the 19th century.

History & culture

A short history of Amsterdam

nearby Attractions

Anne Frank House
Canal cruises
Canal Museums
De 9 Straatjes
Jordaan   cosy neighborhood with many cafés, restaurants, galleries and small shops
Ronde Lutherse Kerk   17th century dome at the Singel
West India House   former headquarters of the Dutch WIC
Westerkerk   protestant church from 1631 in which Rembrandt was burried

Photo Tour »

World Heritage Canal, canals & canals (11)
pictures of Amsterdam's charming canals

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