Amsterdam by Canal

Amsterdam is a city built on a spider web of canals. The canals were a part of the city’s defence system and as the city grew, more and more canals were added. The result is a remarkably different city. The canals prevent roads from being made wider and transport in the city of Amsterdam is dominated by boats and bicycles. The best way to gain a quick overview is to tour Amsterdam by canal.

Hop-on Hop-off busses are popular all over the world. In a city like Amsterdam it makes sense to offer Hop-on Hop-off canal tours. We chose as the provider. They have a nifty app that delivers the commentary in many languages straight to your smart phone. The commentary is also played in English over the boat speakers.

As you cruise Amsterdam by canal, you see the fascinating architecture for housing. Houses typically have a hoisting hook at the top to avoid the need to carry furniture up 4 flights of skinny stairs. To facilitate hoisting, house facades lean forward at an angle of around 5 degrees to give a clear hoisting path. The forward leaning also has the effect of making the house look more imposing.

Housing is all four-story terrace style. There are no garages and the street is not conducive to parking cars, which may be why bicycles are so popular! Houseboats moored in the canals make up 2,500 permanent residences in Amsterdam. As in all city canal systems the bridges are very low and some of the turns are very tricky to navigate.

We enjoyed our initial exploration of Amsterdam by canal on our first day and used the Hop-on Hop-off facility for commuting the next day. Watch the video for a taste, and whatever you do, make sure that travel by canal boat features strongly in your plans to visit Amsterdam.