Canal Belt   Grachtengordel

network of canals dug around the old city

grachtengordel

Keizersgracht - one of the main canals in the Canal Belt of Amsterdam

The crescent-shaped rings of manmade waterways, called the Grachtengordel in Dutch, were built around the old heart of town at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th century.

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 museums and Anne Frank House.

The main canals - Herengracht, Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Singel - form concentric belts around the old city.

Herengracht

Patricians' Canal

the first of the 3 major canals in the city centre of Amsterdam. The most fashionable part is called the Golden Bend, with many double wide mansions, inner gardens and coach houses on Keizersgracht.

Keizersgracht

Emperor's Canal

the 2nd and widest of the 3 major canals, between Herengracht and Prinsengracht, named after Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I.

Prinsengracht

Prince's Canal

the 4th and the longest of the main canals in Amsterdam, named after the Prince of Orange who was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs and ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands.

Singel

the oldest and inner-most canal in Amsterdam's semicircular ring of canals that served as a moat around the medieval city from 1480 until 1585. It runs from the IJ to Muntplein, where it meets the Amstel river.

Kattenkabinet   cat museum

Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen   canal mansion from 1687

Museum Van Loon   canal mansion from 1672

Museum Willet-Holthuysen   canal mansion from 1685

Noordermarkt   picturesque, triangular square alongside the Prinsengracht

Ronde Lutherse Kerk   17th century Lutheran church with copper dome

West India House   former headquarters of the Dutch WIC

Tassenmuseum Hendrikje   museum of bags and purses

Westerkerk   17th century protestant church in which Rembrandt was burried

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.

Canal house hotels

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

grachtengordel

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2010, Amsterdam's 17th century canal ring area inside the Singelgracht - the 3 main canals including Singel and Jordaan - became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Amsterdam canal district comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircles the old town.

Notable buildings in the Canal Belt

Alongside the 3 main canals (Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht) are 1550 monumental buildings.

Felix Meritis 1788

House of the Citizen

European centre for art, culture and science

Huis met de Hoofden 1622

Large canal house with beautiful facade with the heads of 6 Gods: Apollo, Ceres, Mercury, Minerva, Bacchus and Diana.

Bartolotti House 1617

17th century canal house built in a curve for the rich Amsterdammer Willem van den Heuvel who adopted an Italian name.

Ronde Lutherse Kerk 1671

Built by Golden Age architect Adriaan Dortsman in neo-classical style with a chacteristic copper dome

Westerkerk 1620-31

17th-century Protestant church in which Rembrandt was burried

Noorderkerk 1620-23

17th-century Protestant church built by Hendrick de Keyser and his son Pieter

Anne Frank House 1635

hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her diary during the 2nd World War

nearby accommodation and restaurants
more impressions
grachtengordel

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

grachtengordel

Stately canal mansions at the Herengracht

Canal, canals & canals

Amsterdam's charming canals
in pictures (9)

huismetdehoofden

House with the Heads

Keizersgracht 123

bartolotti

Bartolotti House

Herengracht 170

Westpoort Oud-West Jordaan Amsterdam Centrum Old Centre Oud-Zuid De Pijp Rivierenbuurt Zuidas Amsterdam Oost Amsterdam Noord Grachtengordel Jodenbuurt IJ Waterfront Buitenveldert Amsterdam Zuidoost Amsterdam Nieuw-West Amsterdam West