In the port of Amsterdam there’s a sailor who sings
Of the dreams that he brings from the wide open sea
In the port of Amsterdam there’s a sailor who sleeps
While the river bank weeps to the old willow tree
Jacques Brel, Amsterdam
The narrowest house in Amsterdam, with a façade one meter wide, is located at 7 Singel Street, whereas the smallest house is situated at Oude Hoogstraat 20 HS. It is approx. 2 m wide, 5 m deep, and 15 m tall. At first glance, you can see that the buildings located along the canals are exceptionally narrow and tall. This is due to the fact that in the past the tax rate depended on the width of the property.
Venice of the North
Amsterdam is called the Venice of the North for a reason. The capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands features nearly 165 canals with a total length of 75 kilometres. The 17th-century Grachtengordel canal system in the Singelgracht has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The symbol of Amsterdam
Thanks to the well-developed road infrastructure – appropriate surface, parking lots, mobile repair shops, and even special highways – the bicycle is one of the most frequently chosen means of transport. The first two-wheelers were imported to the Netherlands from Germany, Great Britain and France in the 1870s.
Undoubtedly, the symbol of the Netherlands, next to windmills, are tulips. These flowers came to the Old Continent in the 16th century, quickly gaining popularity in the United Provinces of the Netherlands. In the 1630s, the bulbs reached astronomical prices. This economic phenomenon is known as tulip mania. The most expensive tulip in history was the Semper augustus variety, which in 1633 reached the price of 5 400 guilders. Four years later, it already cost 10 000 guilders, the equivalent of a house. If you want to know the history of these flowers, visit the Tulip Museum in Amsterdam.
Herring and fries
The most popular snacks in Amsterdam are fires… Belgian fries – roughly sliced, fried twice and served with mayonnaise. You should also try broodje haring – a traditional Dutch roll with herring, onion and pickled cucumber, and kibbeling – deep-fried cod pieces in batter. Lovers of sweets should definitely try stroopwafel – thin, round wafers joined together with a filling made of three ingredients: butter, sugar syrup and brown sugar.
City of museums
Amsterdam is famous for its museums. In the Rijksmuseum, you will see the famous Rembrandt’s painting the Night Watch. It is worth visiting the Van Gogh Museum, which houses, among others, over 200 paintings and 500 drawings by this eminent painter, and the Amsterdam Museum, where you can learn about the history of the city. Do not forget about the Anne Frank House, Rembrandt House, the Biblical Museum, the Sex Museum, the Photography Museum or the Jewish Historical Museum and the Portuguese Synagogue.