54 Amsterdam Canal Facts And Their Importance In Daily Life | Kidadl


54 Amsterdam Canal Facts And Their Importance In Daily Life

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Does Amsterdam's beauty intrigue you?

What makes Amsterdam so charming is not just its historic buildings and canals but also the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, the Amsterdam Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, numerous coffee shops, and so many more places that are equally ravishing! Can you imagine thousands and millions of people each year coming to visit Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands?

People don't just come here for a vacation, they also visit this watery city for business-related trips. It also holds trade fairs and meetings. Tourism contributes a lot to the gross domestic product of the Netherlands. In 2019, 89.1 billion euros contributed towards the gross domestic product of the Netherlands, but this outstanding contribution fell to 56.6 billion euros in 2020. Of course, Coronavirus had a huge impact on tourism.

As the world was being taken over by Coronavirus, the governments of all the countries had to take a step to protect the people of their respective countries, and so, restrictions were placed on international travel. The Netherlands suffered a loss of 97% of international tourists.

The canals and the other exquisite sights of Amsterdam were not enough to get people to come to the Netherlands; everyone wanted to protect themselves from the global pandemic. Even so, sitting at home every day is rather tedious, isn't it? Those who long to travel, have you ever wondered why the canals of Amsterdam continue to attract so many tourists from across the world or how many canals there are in Amsterdam? After all, this city, in the Dutch province of North Holland, is also known as 'Venice of the North'.

If you wish to know more about this watery city, then continue reading!

History Of Amsterdam's Canals

Take a look at these facts about the history of Amsterdam's canals.

  • Before the 17th century, Amsterdam's growth was much more than it could keep up with. The population continued to grow and there was not much room.
  • In the 17th century, with the continuous population growth of Amsterdam, the making of Amsterdam's city plan started. This plan is responsible for the unbelievably stunning canal system.
  • The intention of the plan was to make canals that were half-circle in shape, with the same center point, and their extremities would rest on the IJ Bay.
  • During the Dutch Golden Age, the digging for making these canals started. They took nearly half a century to build.
  • The canal ring area encompassed the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan canals. This unique land formation led it to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
  • Three canals, namely Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Herengracht, were used for residential purposes. The picturesque houses of the watery city were built here.
  • Jordaan, the fourth canal, was mainly built for water management and defense.
  • After the construction of the four main canals, a bunch of parallel canals were built as well to interconnect the canals.
  • During the Dutch Golden Age, there was a boom in trade, commerce, and architectural development.
  • During the mid 19th century, the water in the canals of this city was highly unsanitary. It was filled with dead sea animals and garbage.
  • To improve the condition of the water, a steam-powered pump station was set up. This helped the situation to an extent.
  • In 1935, the condition improved more when the first sewer system was connected. This was done in order to make sure that the houses didn’t release water waste in the canal.

Number Of Canals In Amsterdam

Amsterdam houses a significant number of canals; in fact, there are so many canals, and each one is unique in its own way, that they form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read on to know about the canals in Amsterdam!

  • The watery city of Amsterdam has more than 62 mi (100 km) of canals. It currently has around 165 canals.
  • Herengracht, Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Singel are some of the most prominent canals in the canal belt in the city of Amsterdam.
  • Singel canal resides in the innermost part of the city. It begins at the IJ Bay. It meets the river Amstel at the Muntplein square.
  • Herengracht is also known as the Patricians' Canal or Lords' Canal. Its name was appointed after the rulers of the Dutch Republic. It is one of the four canals that were first built back in the 17th century.
  • Herengracht runs after the innermost canal, Singel. The Golden Bend, the most dazzling part of it, is between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat.
  • Keizersgracht, or the Emperor's Canal, is one of the canals that was first built back in the 17th century. This canal is between Herengracht and Prinsengracht.
  • The Emperor's Canal was named as such after the King of Roman, Maximilian I.
  • Prinsengracht is again, one of the four main canals of Amsterdam. It is also known as the Prince's Canal, after the Prince of Orange.
  • Apart from these four remarkable canals, Amsterdam has other note-worthy canals as well, like Brouwersgracht, Zwanenburgwal, and Kloveniersburgwal.
  • Brouwersgracht is a canal of the canal belt that connects to all the four main canals, Singel, Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, and Herengracht. This area for vessels coming from Asia is at the northern border.
  • Kloveniersburgwal travels south to the Amstel river. Back during the Dutch Golden Age, this east side of the dam became insanely popular and populated.
  • Zwanenburgwal canal has some of the most beautiful streets in Amsterdam. You can find this canal at the center of the city.
  • Back in the mid '90s, four more canals were built in Amsterdam, namely Seranggracht, Brantasgracht, Lamonggracht, and Majanggracht.
  • These four new Amsterdam canals were built in the northeast part of the canal belt on Java Island.
Learn about the importance of the canals in Amsterdam.

Importance Of Amsterdam's Canals

Have you ever wondered why Amsterdam houses so many canals? The facts given below will help you in understanding the importance of Amsterdam's canals.

  • Amsterdam was built on the water by the Dutch, and so unsanitary water was a huge problem after the city was built. Canals helped in cleaning up some of the unsanitary water.
  • The houses of the city also used to discharge their water waste in the canals, and so canals became all the more essential for continuous water drainage. The fourth canal, Singelgracht, was built for the same reason.
  • Canals were not only needed for defense purposes but also for the transportation of goods throughout the city.
  • The whole country of the Netherlands needs protection from floods and Amsterdam's canals provide the necessary protection.
  • Amsterdam too would drown in seawater if not for the protection that its canals provide. The city is 1.64 ft (0.5 m) below sea level.
  • After the construction of the first four canals in Amsterdam, more canals were constructed to protect the people and the city against floods by increasing defenses.
  • The construction of the first three canals, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht, was vital for the development of houses in the city.
  • If you wish to learn more about canals, then you must go to Het Grachtenhuis. This museum of canals is in an actual canal house. It will perfectly explain and walk you through the history and development of the canal ring.
  • By going through the history and development of Amsterdam's canals, you can understand more about the canals of Amsterdam.

Usage Of Amsterdam's Canals

Amsterdam's canals are used only for a few purposes apart from the defense they provide against sea flooding.

  • In the old days, the canals were mainly used for continuous water drainage and much-needed protection against sea floods. In today's world, the canals not only attract tourists, but also play a vital part in holding festivals, serving as a seaport, and traveling.
  • The beauty of the canals in Amsterdam makes it the perfect tourist spot. More than a million tourists visit this city each year.
  • You can see the canals and many more beautiful sitings of Amsterdam via canal cruises. It is the best way to cover the ground.
  • A canal cruise is a special boat, and one of the most famous attractions of Amsterdam, that takes you throughout the city.
  • You can find canal cruises throughout Amsterdam. You can buy a ticket for a canal cruise online and select the location, date, and time that suits you the most.
  • If you would rather tour the canals by small boat, then you can go to the city square, popularly known as the Dam Square, and take an electric boat to take a tour of the canals.
  • Amsterdam hosts many festivals on and around the canals annually. King's Day and the Grachtenfestival are the most prominent festivals.
  • King's Day is basically a street party, the biggest party in the Netherlands, that happens throughout Amsterdam. People party on the canals and on the ground alike.
  • The Grachtenfestival is also known as the canal festival. During this musical festival, concerts are performed by young talents and experts on or around the canals.
  • The port of Amsterdam serves as a seaport as well. It is one of the largest and busiest ports in the world.
  • Amsterdam's canals are even used as a way to travel. They are used for both private transport and public transport.

Did You Know...

  • The canals of Amsterdam are quite picturesque, aren't they? What adds to their beauty are the bridges of Amsterdam.
  • Can you believe that Amsterdam has over 1,200 bridges? Some bridges are old and some are relatively new. Each bridge is unique in its own way. These bridges connect the 90 islands in Amsterdam.
  • In Amsterdam, the most famous bridge is Magere Brug. It is also known as the Skinny Bridge. Many film producers like the aesthetics of this bridge and shoot on and around it.
  • The most ancient bridge in Amsterdam is still in the same place where it was constructed back in the 17th century; it is the Torensluis Bridge.
  • Have you ever seen a snake-shaped bridge? Well, Amsterdam has a red snake-shaped bridge. This distinctive bridge is called the Python Bridge. It was built in 2001.
  • Aside from the famous, oldest, and most unusual bridges, some other noteworthy bridges are the Jan Schaefer Bridge, Nescio Bridge, Blauwbrug, and the Bridge of 15 Bridges.
  • Amsterdam's canal houses, overlooking the exquisite canals, were mostly resided by merchants, artists, and the political classes.
  • Owning a canal house was a big thing back in the day. It was often used to signify the wealth of the people.
Written By
Bhavya Gupta

<p>With a degree in Economics from Sri Venkateswara College, affiliated with the University of Delhi, Bhavya is a proficient content writer who specializes in crafting content for companies operating in the marketing, growth, online media, and non-profit organization management industries. Drawing on her expertise, Bhavya is capable of crafting content that is both informative and engaging, helping businesses to connect with their target audience and drive growth.</p>

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