Cruising the Amsterdam Canals, The Netherlands

Gliding through the Amsterdam Canals.
Gliding through the Amsterdam Canals is a serene experience right in the heart of the city. Photo: James Visser.

 

By Nicole Anderson

As a travel writer focused on sharing articles around locations of natural beauty, you probably wouldn’t expect to read anything from me about something located within a major European city.

Nevertheless, the waters making up the canals of Amsterdam are impressive and worth seeing when you are in the area.

Amsterdam Canals connected to the North Sea via Noordzeekanaal
The Amsterdam Canals (seen in the far right bottom corner) are connected to the North Sea via the Noordzeekanaal. Image: researchgate.net

Making up a combined system of over 160 canals, we are talking about waterways crisscrossing this city and together are over 100 kilometers (62 miles) in length. Although often referred to as ‘The Venice of the North’, Amsterdam actually has more canals than Venice!

The Amsterdam canals area also includes about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges! That is more than any other city worldwide and 3 times the number of bridges found in Venice. The three canals of Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, were dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and form concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel.

These canals contain both salt water and fresh water. The saltwater enters the cities canals via the Noordzeekanaal, which connects Amsterdam with the harbor at Ijmuiden which then leads out to the North Sea. The freshwater flows from the famous river Rhine, via the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.

 

The Netherlands and water

The Stopera building located beside the Amsterdam Canals
The Stopera building, home to the Dutch National Opera & Ballet companies. Photo: James Visser.

This is a country with a significant relationship with water. Aside from the Atlantic Coast along the western side of the Netherlands, this is a nation renowned for its waterways, canals, lakes, and rivers along which you will find their famous windmills, pumping stations, polders, and dikes.

It is significant to note that almost a third of the country lies below sea level. Therefore, if the Netherlands did not effectively manage the water around it, around half of Holland would actually be submerged! As you can appreciate, the Dutch are masters of engineering and water management culminating in their Delta Works that protect their lands.

The Delta Works is a series of impressive constructions of dams, sluices, and storm surge barriers whose aim was to shorten the Dutch coastline, and thus reducing the number of dikes that had to be raised. Along with the Zuiderzee Works, the Delta Works have been declared one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Netherlands has also been regarded as a great seafaring nation for a few centuries now, with Dutch sailors and explorers making it to most parts of the globe. Given all of this, I think it is fair to say that this is a country that knows a thing or two about water.

 

History of the canals

The city of Amsterdam itself was founded around 1250 with the building of the Dam that gave it its name ‘Aeme Stelle Redamme’ is Medieval Dutch for: ‘Dam in a Watery Area’.

The first canals were dug for water management and defense. As the city expanded in the Middle Ages, successive defense moats ended up inside the walls and lost their function. But they acquired an important new one: local transport of merchandise.

 

The lost canals

The 20th century needed space for cars and other land traffic. Many canals were filled in to make streets and parking spaces. Indeed, almost half of the original water in Amsterdam was lost to landfills, but a full 25 percent of the city’s surface still consists of navigable waterways. With 65 miles of ancient canals, Amsterdam is still regarded as the ‘most watery city’ in the world.

 

Ways to cruise the Amsterdam canals

Aside from admiring the canals from the various streets and bridges, there are two main ways visitors to Amsterdam can experience the canals.

The first and most popular is by taking a canal cruise that takes you through a network of connecting canals and passing a number of well-known sites and locations. There are plenty of tour options in this regard and all of them appear to be reputable and professional. In all, there are some 200 canal cruise boats carrying an average of 3 million passengers each year (pre-COVID 19 statistics).

 

Canal Tours Boat Amsterdam
A boat from the same company we used to see the canals. Photo: James Visser.

 

Tour boats parked to the side of the canal.
Tour boats parked to the side of a canal. Photo: James Visser.

 

The second and perhaps more adventurous way to experience the canals is to create your own journey by hiring your own boat (with or without a captain) or by renting a paddleboat and going at your own pace. You just will need to make sure you stay out of the way of the larger, faster vessels that plow these waters!

 

The main canals in Amsterdam

The main canals all connect to a larger harbor area (via the Noordzeekanaal), which in turn lead out to the North Sea. Numerous ferries connect the people of Amsterdam between both sides of the Noordzeekanaal. Most of these ferries are the property of the city and provide a free non-stop service all day long for all pedestrians and cyclists. It’s a very efficient and effective operation and you never have to wait very long at all to board the next ferry to take you across the water.

The Dutch word for canal is ‘gracht’ and the main canals form a semicircular ring within the city, known as ‘grachtengordel’ (canal ring), with both ends of each main canal essentially meeting back up with the Noordzeekanaal.

 

The Canals of Amsterdam
The main canals of the city of Amsterdam. Image: Amsterdam Tourist Information.

 

Once you are on the south side of the Noordzeekanaal, you are on the side where the main canals of the city are located. These canals are:

 

Herengracht (Gentlemen’s Canal)

Herengracht or The Gentlemen’s canal is considered to be the most important canal in Amsterdam. In the 17th century, the richest merchants, the mayors and the most influential regents of the city resided on this canal. It was also the head office of the Dutch West India Company. Living at an address on the Gentlemen’s canal is considered to be prestigious even to this day. Here you will also find the official residence of the mayor of Amsterdam at house number 502.

 

Keizersgracht (Emperor’s canal)

Keizersgracht or The Emperor’s canal is the middle one of the three main canals of the city. It was named after emperor Maximillian of Austria. The canal is 31 meters wide, which makes it the widest canal in the city center. Digging this canal started in the year 1612, simultaneously with the Gentlemen’s canal and Prince’s canal. Originally a wide boulevard without water was planned here, but the future residents wanted a canal in front of their houses, so they could reach their house by boat.

 

Looking down the Keizersgracht (Emperor's canal)
Looking down the Keizersgracht (Emperor’s canal) as we calmly cruised these amazing waterways. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Prinsengracht (Prince’s canal)

Prinsengracht or the Prince’s Canal is the outermost of the three main canals of Amsterdam. Together these three canals form the “Fourth outlay” of the city, an extension project that was started in 1612 and completed 50 years later. It made the city four times as big as it was when the project was started. During the 17th century, the population of the city grew from 50,000 to 200,000, which made Amsterdam the 3rd biggest city in the world, after London and Paris.

 

Singel Canal

Also running parallel to the three main canals above is the Singel Canal. This slow, winding canal served as a moat around Amsterdam before the capital city expanded in 1585. Today, Singel has become a top attraction thanks to scenic passes and easy access to a number of Amsterdam’s most popular neighborhoods, including the infamous Red-Light District. Travelers looking to explore the Singel can peruse Bloemenmarkt—a well-known flower market that’s comprised of floral-filled boats floating between Koninsplein and Muntplein squares. And a trip along the canal will take travelers past architectural masterpieces from the Dutch Golden era, including iconic houses, the Munttoren tower, and the library of the University of Amsterdam.

 

Brouwersgracht

Aside from the above main canals, there is the Brouwersgracht (or Brewers’ canal) which is a radial canal that actually cuts across the others. Often quoted as being the city’s most beautiful waterway, its name came about due to the many breweries that used to operate along this canal.

 

International recognition of the canals

The 17th-century canal ring area, including the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht, and Jordaan are highly regarded for their cultural significance and were collectively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

 

Accessibility for all

 It was great to note that a number of canal cruise operators in Amsterdam offer wheelchair-friendly boats. Capacity may be limited, so it’s always good to check first with operators and book your canal cruise in advance.

 

Combining canal cruising with city sightseeing

As Amsterdam is surrounded by water, most of the museums and attractions are easily accessible from the canals. Several canal tours operate on a hop-on, hop-off’ basis, which is a convenient way to tick important landmarks off your must-see list, to stop-off to explore the treasures in the Rijksmuseum, or simply allowing you to refuel in a café before continuing your adventure on the water. Onboard the boat, a tour guide or audio recording in a selection of languages provides fascinating background knowledge on the sights as they pass by. This is an opportunity to receive tips and background knowledge on everything from Amsterdam’s trading legacy to Dutch icons and the Old Masters without the need to take a tour at each location.

 

Tourist sites in Amsterdam Canals
A map showing the canals running through major city attractions. Image: Maps Amsterdam.

 

If you are interested in breaking up your canal cruise with touring city attractions, the world-famous Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House, the Royal Theater Carré, and the Heineken Experience are just steps away from drop-off points on typical routes. Pre-purchased cards such as the Holland Pass allows you to combine a canal cruise with entry to Amsterdam’s top attractions for a discounted price. By the way, if you are as keen as my partner James was to see Anne Frank House, you would be well advised to book this online some months ahead.

 

Our Cruise Experience

We enjoyed cruising the Amsterdam canals with one of the boats branded ‘Canal Tours Amsterdam’ which departed and returned to their jetty located just off Dam Square. Dam Square was created in the 13th century when a dam was built around the river Amstel to prevent the Zuiderzee sea from flooding the city. It is just a five-minute walk down the Damrak from Centraal Station and takes you into this popular space, with plenty of locals and tourists there day and night. The square has food stalls, restaurants, and shops galore, including the trendy Bijenkorf and Magna Plaza as well as the Amsterdam Diamond Centre. Such is the popularity of Dam Square that you might even have to wait for a seat at one of the many cafes and bars.

The Boat

We easily found the place right off Dam Square where our boat was moored and we headed down the stairs from the street level, showed our tickets, and then climbed aboard. The interior was very spacious and the seats were comfortable. Each seat had a plug for earphones to listen to the onboard commentary that provides background facts in a choice of languages. This commentary also alerts you to look out for particular landmarks or points of interest during the cruise. We were fortunate that the boat on this trip was not completely full so there was even space to move around for better vantage points during the journey. There was also a toilet on board which was kept very clean.

 

Cruising the Amsterdam Canals
For cruising the waters of the Amsterdam Canals, this was our boat. Photo: James Visser.

 

The boat cast off exactly on time and slowly started its journey down the various canals.

As cities go, I have to say that Amsterdam is certainly an attractive one. It just doesn’t have the same level of noise, pollution or amount of dirt, rubbish, etc that are so common with so many cities in other countries. The Dutch people are also not generally noisy and this promotes quite a calm and peaceful atmosphere as you go about the city.

Here are some of the shots we took from the cruise:

 

Cruising the Amsterdam Canals
The Dutch architecture was of great interest to many on our cruise. Photo: James Visser.

 

Many cafes set up canal-side tables so people can enjoy water views.
Many cafes set up canal-side tables so people can enjoy water views. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Whether you are lucky enough to have an apartment or a house boat along this canal, you have wonderful water views.
Whether you are lucky enough to have an apartment or a houseboat along this canal, you have wonderful water views. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

One of the many draw bridges to allow road and canal traffic through.
One of the many draw bridges to allow road and canal traffic through. Photo: James Visser.

 

Navigating through many bridge tunnels built over the narrow canals.
Navigating through many bridge tunnels built over the narrow canals. Photo: James Visser.

 

As we went through some of the more narrow canals, the street buildings seem to tower above our boat.
As we went through some of the more narrow canals, the street buildings seem to tower above our boat. Photo: James Visser.

 

This city just has such a cool vibe and peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.
This city just has such a cool vibe and a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Moving into the Noordzeekanaal, we can see where the river cruise boats that travel to other European centers via the Rhine and other major rivers
Moving into the Noordzeekanaal, we can see where the river cruise boats that travel to other European centers via the Rhine and other major rivers. Photo: James Visser.

 

So, it was indeed a very tranquil cruise, gently gliding through the water of the various canals, moving from one area to the next. Passing by all the well-known and iconic locations, buildings and sites mentioned earlier, the canals showcased themselves to be such an attractive and wonderful asset for Amsterdam.

 

Cleanliness of the canals

Today, it is true to say that the water in the canals is cleaner than it has ever been in their history. Three times a week, 14 of the 16 existing water locks around the city close up, so clean water can be pumped in from the big lake IJsselmeer. The current that creates pushes the dirty canal water out through the open locks on the other side of the city. Specialized cleaning boats with big scoops and nets patrol frequently to clean surface dirt. Since 2005, all the houseboats in the city are connected to the sewer system. The cleaner water has attracted life. About 20 different species of fish and crabs live a healthy life below the surface. That bounty attracts water birds like herons, ducks, coots, gulls, and recently even cormorants.

 

The waterways are so well maintained in a major city with so many house boats located all along the canals.
The waterways are so well maintained in a major city with so many houseboats located all along the canals. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Canals and Bicycles

The Netherlands itself is the so-called ‘bicycle capital of the world’, with upwards of 20 million bicycles for a population of 17 million. Amsterdam is well known for being bicycle-friendly. Nevertheless, though people outside of the Netherlands consider Amsterdam to be one of the most famous and important centers of bicycle culture worldwide, the city itself is actually not at the top in terms of bike-friendliness compared to many smaller Dutch cities. Most notably, the Dutch city of Utrecht is acknowledged as the world’s most bicycle-friendly city.

Why is it that bicycles are so popular in the Netherlands? Well, the famously flat Dutch terrain, combined with densely-populated areas, means that most journeys are of short duration and not too difficult to complete. The Dutch also tend to go helmet-free because they are protected by the cycle-centric rules of the roads and the way infrastructure is designed.

 

Bicycles and Canals
You see bicycles parked everywhere as you cruise the Amsterdam canals. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

So why are bicycles relevant when talking about the canals in Amsterdam? Believe it or not, for the sheer number of bicycles that find themselves at the bottom of the canals! According to Sustainable Amsterdam, the city recovers as many as 20,000 bikes (and lots of other junk) from its waterways every year! In addition, it is estimated that some 35 cars fall into the canals each year.

 

The canals in winter

Since we know Amsterdam is within western Europe where it gets cold, you may wonder if all or some of the canals freeze over for a time. Well, the canals don’t freeze over often. As the climate in winter is comparably mild, natural ice does not grow as fast in Amsterdam as compared with the more Eastern parts of The Netherlands. For the canals to turn into ice, it needs to below zero degrees Celcius day and night for a sufficient period to freeze to ice – something that rarely occurs.

 

Crossing the harbor area (Noordzeekanaal)

As previously mentioned, there are a number of ferries owned by the city that operate a continual and free ferry service across the Noordzeekanaal. We tried a few of these services to reach various areas and enjoy cruising this part of the city as well.

Each of these ferries has very large decks to accommodate all the cyclists that use this service and move throughout Amsterdam. The ferries also contain seats within enclosed areas for pedestrians and cyclists when the weather is less than ideal.

 

One of the city's ferries having just docked outside the Amsterdam Centraal station, with pedestrians and cyclists exiting.
One of the city’s ferries having just docked outside the Amsterdam Centraal station, with pedestrians and cyclists exiting. Photo: James Visser.

 

Looking across the Noordzeekanaal where ferries operate a non-stop free service.
Looking across the Noordzeekanaal where ferries operate a non-stop free service. Photo: James Visser.

 

Looking across to the NEMO Science Museum
Looking across to the NEMO Science Museum. Photo: James Visser.

 

Two of the European River 'Space Ships' that take tourists to other locations east in Europe.
Two of the European River ‘Space-Ships’ that take tourists to other locations east in Europe. Photo: James Visser.

 

Cyclists on the deck of the ferry commuting to/from work.
Cyclists on the deck of the ferry commuting to/from work. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

When you consider how many vessels use these waterways, the water still looks great
When you consider how many vessels use these waterways, the water still looks great. Photo: James Visser.

 

Again, like the canal boats, this service operates very efficiently and is just another indicator of how well managed everything appears to be in the Netherlands.

 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that these canals are a major asset and drawcard for Amsterdam. In saying that, it is also relevant to point out that Amsterdam, while most well-known when it comes to Dutch canals, is not the only place you will find lovely canals in the Netherlands. Many Dutch cities and towns also have canals that adorn the center of their communities. A fabulous example being Delft, which was one of my all-time favorite places in the Netherlands.

Have you cruised the canals of Amsterdam or elsewhere in the Netherlands? If not, is this something that appeals to you? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, thanks so much for reading.

 

There is no doubt that Amsterdam values and looks after their canals.
There is no doubt that Amsterdam values and looks after its canals. Photo: James Visser.

 

I Amsterdam
Here I am standing within the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign with the beautiful Noordzeekanaal in the background. Photo: James Visser.

 

This article is part of the Natural Beauty Travel Series authored by travel writer Nicole Anderson.

 

Founder and Publisher at | Website

Outdoor adventure enthusiast that loves nature having travelled locations across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Passionate Travel Writer, Blogger and Influencer.

108 thoughts on “Cruising the Amsterdam Canals, The Netherlands

  • February 28, 2021 at 8:56 am
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    I think Amsterdam and canals go hand in hand. I have visited a few of the canals when I was in Amsterdam and I absolutely loved them. The bridges over the canals and the canals themselves look amazing especially over the sunsets. I had taken a boat trip where they did talk about the history a bit.

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    • March 2, 2021 at 10:15 pm
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      So pleased you got to experience exploring the canals by boat as well, Raksha. Doing so at sunset would be fabulous and the photos you could take would be wonderful also.

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  • February 27, 2021 at 11:59 pm
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    I learned so much about the Amsterdam canals from you. It’s really amazing the brain behind the canals that was first built in 1250! And I wonder where did the country got the debris/dirt for the landfills.

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    • March 2, 2021 at 10:13 pm
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      That’s a good question, Umiko. I am not sure but I guess the answer would be contained in historical sites related to the Netherlands. It is such an amazing undertaking and to think it still holds up so well today. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts here.

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  • February 27, 2021 at 1:31 pm
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    Canals are really famous in Amsterdam. Reading your posts makes me amaze more. I never thought that it was this many! Cruising is definitely the activity that everyone who is planning to visit shouldn’t miss. Oh, how I miss traveling! I hope to revisit Amsterdam again when this global pandemic is over.

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    • February 27, 2021 at 11:40 pm
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      Me too, Anosa! Can’t wait to be able to travel again safely. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment.

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  • February 27, 2021 at 5:10 am
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    Ok, I knew that Amsterdam was called the city of canals but woah, over 100 km of canals and around 1,500 bridges!!! I can already imagine how much fun people actually had this year when the some sections of the canals froze over since it is not at all common! 😀 Absolutely loved how extensive this post is which tells me the cruise was so worth it! Totally gonna make a point to take a canal cruise when in Amsterdam! 😀

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    • February 27, 2021 at 11:39 pm
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      That’s so lovely to hear, Vaisakhi, thank you very much. You are quite right, this year they did freeze over and the Dutch love to ice skate! I hope you have a lovely time whenever you choose to visit.

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  • February 26, 2021 at 5:19 pm
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    I didn’t know a third of The Netherlands was underwater. I can see why they have such a skill for water management. The canals make the city so picturesque. I haven’t been to Amsterdam for a while but a canal tour is definitely something everyone needs to do. Interesting to hear they never freeze over, that surprised me as well.

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    • February 27, 2021 at 11:36 pm
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      The canals do freeze over in winter from time to time, Paul, just not very often. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on the content above.

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  • February 26, 2021 at 3:19 am
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    Wow, over 100 km of canals and 1,500 bridges! That’s quite impressive. Amsterdam must be very similar to Stockholm from this point of view, which is also a city on the water. It’s interesting to hear the canals don’t freeze in winter. I thought it was colder in the Netherlands. Although we go to Europe every year, we somehow missed Amsterdam, but it’s very high up on my list of places to see.

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    • February 27, 2021 at 11:34 pm
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      I can certainly appreciate the comparison with Stockholm, Anda, which is also another lovely city. The canals do freeze in winter but this is a rare occurrence. It does get very cold in the Netherlands but more so in the east, away from the coast. So pleased to know that this is on your list of places to see when traveling to Europe and I hope this article has helped in providing some worthwhile info.

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  • February 25, 2021 at 1:48 pm
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    I really want to visit the Netherlands! Such a beautiful place. It’s on my travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  • February 24, 2021 at 8:56 pm
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    Thanks for sharing the details of a canals tour in Amsterdam. Sad to know about the cycles and cars falling into the waterway, but happy to note that there are efforts to keep the water clean, which in return attracts fish, crabs and aquatic birds.

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    • February 26, 2021 at 12:10 am
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      Keeping the canals in good condition is definitely a priority for the city, Pubali. It makes it such a great thing for locals and visitors alike to appreciate and enjoy.

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  • February 24, 2021 at 7:48 am
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    This is great, so much more comprehensive than most posts about canal trips in Amsterdam. I am particularly interested to learn the history and also that the canals are now much cleaner than ever before. I’ve cruised the canals in the historic centre of town but not further afield and with such an extensive network, I can see there is so much more for me to see!

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    • February 26, 2021 at 12:08 am
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      That’s for sure, Kavita! It would certainly be fun to explore as many of them as possible! Thank you for such a lovely comment.

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  • February 23, 2021 at 11:46 pm
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    I love reading articles about others experiences in places I have visited. Sometimes you come across stuff you missed out on. I totally missed out on the Canals. But, I do plan on going back for them. Thanks for the helpful article.

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    • February 26, 2021 at 12:06 am
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      My pleasure Stephanie. I agree it would be worth returning to the Netherlands to experience the canals – both in Amsterdam as well as other areas. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

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  • February 23, 2021 at 7:17 pm
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    You are absolutely right, rivers – as well as other waters, too – give cities something special and close to nature. I love cities with rivers and canals. What I also find absolutely fascinating is that Amsterdam is actually below sea level 😉

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    • February 26, 2021 at 12:04 am
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      It’s amazing to think about how much of the Netherlands generally is below sea level, Renata. Having waterways like these canals certainly does make any city more attractive for sure.

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  • February 23, 2021 at 4:14 am
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    Your post just made me miss Amsterdam so much. I hope one day I will back there again cruising along.

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  • February 23, 2021 at 1:58 am
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    Saving this to my post-COVID bucket list! I’ve always wanted to visit the Netherlands and the canals here look beautiful! I had no idea that 1/3 of the country lies below sea level. It reminds me of parts of Italy. Thank you for sharing these beautiful places.

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    • February 26, 2021 at 12:01 am
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      You’re so welcome, Ebony. The stats about the Netherlands in relation to water generally is quite fascinating compared to other countries. Thank you for reading and leaving your comment.

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  • February 23, 2021 at 1:25 am
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    What a lovely way to see the city and the paddleboat experience sounds fun. Its definitely on my travel list.

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  • February 22, 2021 at 8:46 pm
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    The Netherlands is in my travel bucket list! I can’t wait to see all these canal spots live and in person once I can travel again.

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:42 pm
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      Let’s hope it won’t be that long before the pandemic is under control and we can all travel safely again, Ronnie. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

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  • February 22, 2021 at 4:28 pm
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    Amsterdam looks like an amazing city. I’d love to visit someday and would definitely hop on a boat to travel the canals. Seems like an adventure to me.

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:41 pm
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      It’s a lovely adventure, particularly if you enjoy traveling waterways, Nikola. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  • February 22, 2021 at 12:45 pm
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    This looks fabulous. I love seeing a city from its waterways. You get such a different perspective. Thanks for adding this to my list!

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:40 pm
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      My pleasure Michelle. I’m sure you would love experiencing these canals on your trip to Amsterdam.

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  • February 22, 2021 at 10:59 am
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    I haven’t been to the Amsterdam Canals, The Netherlands! It looks like a fun experience. I hope I can travel after the pandemic. I will definitely put this in my list. Thanks for the photos!

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:38 pm
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      You’re really welcome Emman and here’s hoping we may all travel again safely soon.

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  • February 22, 2021 at 10:32 am
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    The canal cruises in Amsterdam are some of my favourite ways to see the city. Even though I’ve taken the tours a few times I hadn’t had such a clear understanding of the makeup and history of the canals. I appreciate that you included those details in the guide! I also really enjoyed that on the canal tours the guides often pointed out the specifics of Dutch architecture. And the perspective from the water was truly unique!

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:37 pm
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      That’s for sure, Jamie. It’s a much nicer perspective than on walkways and streets. Great to know that you loved traveling through the canals as well and that you liked the additional details included here. Thanks so much.

      Reply
  • February 22, 2021 at 1:27 am
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    What an informative post! I was only in Amsterdam for a couple of days and unbelievably I didn’t take a canal cruise. I know but I just ran out of time. I did however bike everywhere and I can see that it is such a different POV to the bottom. Can’t believe that 1/3 of the country is under sea level! Love learning about all the different canals too. OK, maybe next time!

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:34 pm
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      For sure you should try cruising Amsterdam this way on your next trip, Amy. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience and thoughts.

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  • February 22, 2021 at 12:42 am
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    Amsterdam would be a great place to visit! I have heard much about the many canals and attractions and your article makes me feel like I’m right there!

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  • February 21, 2021 at 11:29 pm
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    What a lovely way to explore the city. It seems like a very unique way to experience the sites of the city. We’re always on the sidewalks most of the time. A view from the water would be amazing.

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    • February 22, 2021 at 9:31 pm
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      Amsterdam is a lovely city but being on the water, cruising through the canals makes being in a city a much nicer experience for sure, Elizabeth. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

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  • February 21, 2021 at 11:27 pm
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    I would LOVE to see Amsterdam from that perspective. If I’m ever able to make it there, I’ll definitely be taking river cruises.

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  • February 18, 2021 at 5:37 pm
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    Such a great post with all the details of cruising the canals, Amsterdam is definitely a great place to visit and on our bucket list. This will be very useful a wonderful share indeed!

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    • February 21, 2021 at 10:47 pm
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      Thanks so much, Nisha! I enjoyed researching a lot of the facts around these canals, especially as I enjoyed being there so much. Hope you have as wonderful a time as we did.

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  • February 17, 2021 at 6:35 pm
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    This makes me want to pack my bags and put on my traveling shoes! Especially to go to Amsterdam.

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    • February 21, 2021 at 10:46 pm
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      I know what you mean, Shayla. Even looking through this again myself, makes me want to go back again. So pleased you liked this post.

      Reply
  • February 16, 2021 at 4:53 pm
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    This place looks so beautiful to visit. All the clicks are so beautiful. Would love to visit here sometime in future

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    • February 21, 2021 at 10:44 pm
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      Thank you very much Khushboo. It is a very scenic place to visit and lends itself to some great photos.

      Reply
  • February 16, 2021 at 2:55 pm
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    I couldn’t relate to your first sentence more. I’m definitely a nature/hiking/camping/roughing it kinda girl, but when I found myself in the Netherlands last year I remembered my love for Europe too. I didn’t get a chance to ride through the canals in Amsterdam, but one day I’m sure I’ll go back!

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    • February 21, 2021 at 10:41 pm
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      So glad you feel the same way about getting out of the cities generally, Chloe. Europe certainly offers so much to see and experience and the Netherlands is a lovely example of that. Hope you will return to try the canals, both in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the country. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  • February 16, 2021 at 2:02 pm
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    I love canals and therefore Amsterdam is high on my wish list. I loved your cruising through these wonderful canals. All I was knowing many canals here before reading your post, but now good to know about their names too and they all are very interesting Gentleman’s canal, Emperor’s canal, Signel and Prince Canal. Also residing in house boats must be interesting here. As Signel Canal is favorite among tourists then I would also prefer to cruise through it.

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    • February 21, 2021 at 10:37 pm
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      Fortunately, most boats cruise through most of the canals across Amsterdam and naturally would include Singel Canal in the process as it is so popular. Living, or even staying temporarily, in a houseboat on the canals would indeed be a super experience. Thank you very much for your lovely comment, Yukti and I hope you will visit Amsterdam soon, once it is safe to travel again.

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  • February 16, 2021 at 3:38 am
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    This is certainly on our bucket list (and in the top 10ish places there!) so will save this super detailed post for reference

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    • February 16, 2021 at 11:11 am
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      So pleased to know this will be of value to you for the future, Vidya. Hope you have a wonderful and enjoyable trip.

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  • February 16, 2021 at 3:10 am
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    What a cool experience! My friend’s parents did this and it looked like such a fun journey. I would love to do this!

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    • February 16, 2021 at 11:08 am
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      It is fun, Marysa! You should plan to visit in the future and compare notes with your parents! Thanks so much for sharing your comment here.

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  • February 16, 2021 at 1:51 am
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    This looks so fun and beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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  • February 15, 2021 at 7:01 pm
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    I have never been to Amsterdam, but I know one day I will be visiting. Looks very beautiful and great pictures too.

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  • February 15, 2021 at 6:29 pm
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    I hope to visit Amsterdam this summer, so add this post to my favorites. It’s great that you so accurately described the Amsterdam canals with multiple cruise options and tips. I have no idea that the offer is so vast. I take recommended cruise with ‘Canal Tours Amsterdam”, when visiting the city.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:47 am
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      So happy you liked the detail I included here, Agnes, and thank you for reading and leaving your comment.

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  • February 15, 2021 at 5:57 pm
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    Amsterdam is an absolutely wonderful place. We saw most sights located on the shores of the canals and go a lot of fun facts too, It was a great way to see the city and learn about its history.

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      • March 2, 2021 at 12:57 pm
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        Yeah indeed it did… It has been 3 years and it still looks the same and these pictures are amazing!

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  • February 15, 2021 at 4:52 pm
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    This is one place that I am dreaming to go. Thanks for sharing.

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  • February 15, 2021 at 4:51 pm
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    For years now we have been planning a few days stay in Amsterdam since we often have a layover there. These canals are just amazing! I never knew they had names too. Taking a cruise in the canals would be wonderful. I’m sure you get a totally different view of the city and the buildings from the water. Thanks for this awesome idea! I can’t wait to go when we can travel again.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:43 am
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      So pleased this inspires you to do canal cruising when you next visit Amsterdam, Paula. It really does give the city a different and enjoyable perspective. Happy travels!

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  • February 15, 2021 at 3:07 pm
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    Total travel envy. I can’t wait to start traveling again!

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:40 am
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      Hopefully, it can’t be too much longer now that the vaccines are becoming available, Danielle. Thank you for reading and I’m pleased you like this.

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  • February 15, 2021 at 1:42 pm
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    I’ve never been to Europe but this looks so beautiful.

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  • February 15, 2021 at 6:57 am
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    What a lovely experience it would be to cruise these canals. I hope to do this one day.

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  • February 14, 2021 at 11:36 pm
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    My heart is ACHING reading this post! Amsterdam is high up on my travel wish list as I have never left the country I live in, and who knows when I will ever be able to now?! These photos are gorgeous, and I have honestly never heard a bad thing about Amsterdam at all. I really do hope I get to visit someday soon; everyone I know has already been overseas numerous times before.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:37 am
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      Well, let’s look on the bright side, Indya. The current situation surely can’t last forever and in the meanwhile, you will be able to plan the logistics of your first overseas trip to cover what you really want to visit. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on how you felt about this post and I wish you all the very best for your future travels.

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  • February 14, 2021 at 7:42 pm
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    I did not realize Amsterdam had so many miles’ worth of canals! Thanks for sharing more about them – this makes just one more reason I’d love to travel there someday in the post-COVID world…

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:32 am
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      Totally relate to this, Flossie! So pleased you liked this post and let’s hope we will all be able to travel safely again soon.

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  • February 14, 2021 at 2:06 pm
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    This was really informative! I have been dreaming of a European trip forever and this just makes me want to go more! There’s something about the history of it all!

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:30 am
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      Europe definitely has some fascinating history in addition to some fabulous nature areas, Amanda. I hope you will realize your dream of a European adventure once it is safe to travel once more.

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  • February 14, 2021 at 2:03 pm
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    There’s so much I didn’t know about Amsterdam till now. I don’t even want to imagine half of Holland being submerged. It would be so disastrous. That’s some great engineering there.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:28 am
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      That’s for sure, Viano! Those engineering feats were brought about due to necessity, making the Dutch well known for their expertise in this area.

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  • February 14, 2021 at 9:53 am
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    I have been to Amsterdam and did take one of the canal tours starting from the Central Station. Your article however brings to light some interesting facts I wasn’t aware of! Its fascinating to know the history behind its origin/name. Would definitely want to revisit this country, with more time on my hands, wish I had got a chance to cycle around and see the Anne Franke house!

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:26 am
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      James and I feel a bit the same way, Aradhana, in that we would love to go back to see some things we didn’t have the chance/time for. We will be back at some point for sure. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  • February 14, 2021 at 7:43 am
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    I haven’t been to Europe at all. But I recently had a guest post on Amsterdam on my blog. This just seems like deja vu, as if the place is calling me. I didn’t know that most of the land is below sea level. Your post has highlighted the area in such detail, that it seems like a marvel now.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:24 am
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      Perhaps this might be a sign provided by a fellow blogger that Amsterdam might just be for you, Ambica! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  • February 13, 2021 at 7:19 pm
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    I have been to Amsterdam on numerous occasions and love the canals, whether it’s walking alongside them or chilling out on a barge on KingsDay. However, I didn’t know about the history but I did kinda guess it was something to do with the transportation of goods and water management/dealing with flooding. A bit like the Kinderdijk down the road, water management system, etc however when I first went there I thought it was some guy who built twenty-odd windmills just for the sake of it. So I love finding out new history. How I would love a trip to Amsterdam right now.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:21 am
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      Amsterdam, its canals, and the Netherlands more broadly, are certainly favorite destinations for many, Danik. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here and I would love to visit again also.

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  • February 13, 2021 at 6:32 pm
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    I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam. I didn’t realize that Amsterdam had that many canals!

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    • February 15, 2021 at 9:51 pm
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      Forget about Venice, coz Amsterdam’s many canals are very impressive. Just looking at it in an aerial view, they urban plan and construction are one of the best. I guess, owning a boat even a paddle boat is normal, same us here in Australia. Amsterdam is getting me excited to visit.

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      • February 16, 2021 at 10:14 am
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        With all those canals, I guess it would be only natural for many locals to take advantage of what they have, Blair. I hope you will visit Amsterdam and its canals as well in the future.

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:16 am
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      Neither did I for a long time, Lori. It definitely makes for a lovely asset for the city.

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  • February 13, 2021 at 2:55 pm
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    I’d love to go there one day. It is such a lovely City to explore, full of history and wonderful Architecture.

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  • February 13, 2021 at 2:50 pm
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    We’ve been to Amsterdam and really love the canals. But during our visit, we did more of a bike trip. Your post has got us convinced to try cruising through the canals for our next visit in the city. I’m surprised that the canals don’t freeze during the winter and you’re totally right about the Netherlands being full of towns with great canals aside from Amsterdam! We hope to do a van trip around the whole country at some point!

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:10 am
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      The canals do freeze from time to time Antoine, but just not that often. Planning to do a van trip all around the Netherlands in addition to cruising the Amsterdam canals sounds like an exciting endeavor! All the best for a fabulous journey and thank you for engaging in this article.

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  • February 13, 2021 at 2:15 pm
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    Looks magical! oh, I miss proper travelling so much! Amsterdam is a lovely place, canals make it even better

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    • February 16, 2021 at 10:06 am
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      As cities go, I agree Amsterdam is really lovely, Lyosha. The canals really bring so much to make it such an enjoyable experience.

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