UNESCO World Heritage Site #12: Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (The Netherlands)

Fun Experiment: throw a mediocre, grainy, poorly composed photograph of the Amsterdam Canals up on Instagram. Then post a gorgeous, perfectly composed photo of the coolest landmark in any other city.

I’d bet you $20 the Amsterdam photo will do better. Maybe even twice as good.

You know why?

People freaking love Amsterdam. It’s Disney World for adults plus canals plus flowers plus waffles.

Early morning in Amsterdam. Spent the day recovering from jet lag and then had waffles for dinner.

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My Visit

I’ve been to Amsterdam twice, once in September, 2012 and again at the tail end of January/beginning of February. I could easily go back once a year or more for the rest of my life.

2012 Stephanie was Super Happy in Amsterdam
2012 Stephanie was Super Happy in Amsterdam

The first time, I really got into Amsterdam. I ate so much cheese. I took a canal tour and drank Heineken until I nearly vomited and walked around the Red Light District (in the daytime cause I’m a lady).

The Cheese Museum in Amsterdam
The Cheese Museum in Amsterdam

I cried in the Anne Frank House, walked the Jordaan, contemplated the Tulip Market Bubble of the 17th century, and stared at the Potato Eaters for fifteen minutes just to take it all in.

The Sign Outside the Anne Frank House
The Sign Outside the Anne Frank House

I was such a good tourist.

Houses in Amsterdam
Houses in Amsterdam

When I went back this year did I pick up where I left off? Finally see the Rijksmuseum or check out the Defense Line?

Nope.

I took this photo because I wanted to go to this exhibit. Then I didn't.
I took this photo because I wanted to go to this exhibit. Then I didn’t.

 

I slept off my jet lag, caught up on work, and ate waffles. SO MANY WAFFLES. And then on the third morning, I moved to Sofia.

 

I did not go to museums. I did go to the bakery...
I did not go to museums. I did go to the bakery…

The Site

Like Budapest, the area under the auspices of UNESCO covers a huge part of the city. Luckily for me though, it’s really on the houses and canal system, whereas Budapest includes every building on a freaking riverbank.

The canals at night
The canals at night

From UNESCO’s description:

The Amsterdam Canal District illustrates exemplary hydraulic and urban planning on a large scale through the entirely artificial creation of a large-scale port city. The gabled facades are characteristic of this middle-class environment, and the dwellings bear witness both to the city’s enrichment through maritime trade and the development of a humanist and tolerant culture linked to the Calvinist Reformation. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Amsterdam was seen as the realization of the ideal city that was used as a reference urban model for numerous projects for new cities around the world.

House Boats on the Canals
House Boats on the Canals

Getting There 

Amsterdam is well-connected to the rest of Europe by rail, and the Schipol International Airport has flights all over Europe and direct flights from the US. Simply walking around the canal area will give you a good understanding of how marvelously crazy a city dug out of the sea is, but I would recommend a canal tour to get a better understanding.

The Canals
The Canals

Things to Do While You’re There

It’s Amsterdam. You’ll have a good time. Just stay balanced, and stay safe. Here’s a good travel guide to get started.

You'll have fun.
You’ll have fun.

Tips

  • Amsterdam feels expensive. It’s worth looking into budget options beforehand to keep things under control. For example, a taxi to the center can be 50-60 euros.
Dutch Tulips at the Airport
Dutch Tulips at the Airport
  • Please don’t be one of “those” tourists who can’t handle themselves and embarrass their countrymen.
The Old Church near the Red Light District
The Old Church near the Red Light District
  • A city of canals means you’re on water all the time. Remember when you’re on water you need to prepare for temperatures a little colder than you’d expect.
A scooter. Haven't you always wanted a red scooter?
A scooter. Haven’t you always wanted a red scooter?
  • Don’t skip the Ann Frank House. It’s life changing.
  • Go. The world would be more peaceful if everyone spent a week in Amsterdam at some point in their lives.
The Flower Market
The Flower Market

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UNESCO World Heritage Site #12: Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (The Netherlands)
UNESCO World Heritage Site #12: Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (The Netherlands)

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  1. Pingback: March 2017: Adventures & Expenses - GoThreeTwentyFour

  2. Pingback: 5 Essential Things You Need to Know When Visiting Amsterdam - Just Travelling Solo

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