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HISTORY OF AMSTERDAM CANALS
The Dutch capital Amsterdam is known for its canals, among other things. The 17th-century canals with the main canals (Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) and a piece of surrounding area were included on 1 August 2010 in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Around 1270 a dam was built in the Amstel. On both sides of the canalized and dammed stretch of Amstel (the current Damrak and Rokin) the center of Amsterdam was created in the Late Middle Ages. Aeme Stelle Redamme is medieval Dutch for: "Dam in a watery area".
After the growth of the city in the 16th century, the center was expanded further and new canals were needed. The emergence of the canal belt as we know it today came during the Golden Age. In 1612, Mayor Frans Hendricksz decided. That the city had to expand in order to accommodate all residents and traders. For this reason, the Keizersgracht, named after the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, the Herengracht, named after the Lords of Amsterdam, and the Prinsengracht, named after the Prince of Orange, were dug out.
The three main canals of Amsterdam were dug simultaneously. An ambitious expansion project of "Stadstimmerman" Cornelis Staets was adopted and implemented by the Municipality in 1612. At the completion 50 years later, the city was four times the size and had the most efficient and fine-meshed waterway system in the world. Via a spider's web of connecting canals, merchandise from all over the world could be delivered to the door of more than a thousand warehouses. A fleet of thousands of barges and prams took care of the "pipeline" to the port. Rowing, booming or with a tow-boat, more freight with manpower was dragged through the canals at that time, than today would even be possible with trucks along those canals.
MAGERE BRUG (SKINNY BRIDGE) AMSTERDAM
The Skinny Bridge is located on the Amstel River at the height of Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. With the characteristic lights and the narrow path, this is truly a unique bridge in the city. The Skinny Bridge got its name from the width and from the skinny years in which the bridge was refurbished. When you visit the bridge during twilight or sunrise, you'll find out why people think the Skinny Bridge is so enchanting.
THE GOLDEN BEND
This is the part of the canals where the richest merchants, statesmen, artists and bankers used to live. And actually still live or keep office. The house of the mayor of Amsterdam, for example, can be found on the corner of Herengracht and Vijzelstraat. The canal houses on this part of the Herengracht are larger and wider than those of the rest of the canals. That is also why only really rich people could afford these houses. The canal houses in the Golden Bend are built in a style that goes back to, among other things, the time of the ancient Greeks and have marble halls and high stucco ceilings. It is definitely worth a visit! Both inside and out.