Print this page
Thursday, 06 November 2008

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District

Written by Lies Ouwerkerk
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies OuwerkerkThink narrow canals, gabled houses and old-fashioned street lanterns, and it is not difficult to imagine yourself centuries back in time. Add houseboats moored at a tiny drawbridge, a fish stall where customers hold up a herring by its tail and let it slowly slide down their throat, the sound of a Dutch tearjerker rising up from an old-fashioned street organ, and grandmother-style bicycles being skillfully maneuvered through Amsterdam's dense traffic by young and old....and you realize: there is simply no place like Amsterdam!

 

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies OuwerkerkThe Dutch capital's web of downtown canals known as the "grachtengordel" (girdle of canals) with its charming 17th and 18th century canal houses, mansions, and former warehouses, all still largely in tact, is by far the most attractive and impressive part of this beautiful city. In the evening, romantic street lanterns along the curving canals, narrow side streets, and interconnecting bridges light up and turn the district into an enchanting, magical place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies OuwerkerkIf you have but a few days to spend and want to experience the full flavor of the historic centre, settle for one of the quaint, lesser-known and more affordable canal hotels right in the middle of the action – then visit places where mainly locals hang out. Bring along comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to go almost everywhere on foot. Feeling adventurous? Then why not try out a bike and become a real Amsterdammer!

 

 

 

Dam Square, in the middle of downtown, was and still is an international meeting place. This once marshy area at the mouth of the river Amstel was dammed in the 13th century and became an important trading place for the whole country. It is connected by Damrak to the still existing harbor Het IJ, and via the Zuiderzee (South Sea) to the rest of the world. In the 16th century, when Holland was at the top of its maritime strength and prosperity, Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies Ouwerkerkthe Singel canal, south of Dam Square, was Amsterdam's fortified boundary. With a rising number of citizens, came the need for a large-scale urban expansion. This led to the development of the famous Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht, dug in the same concentric shape as the Singel. The wealthiest people would live on these four major canals, whereas the more modest folks like shopkeepers, artisans, and workers would house in the smaller dwellings on the interconnecting radial canals and streets.

 


East of Dam Square is The Red Light District and the Rembrandt House where the famous painter spent a considerable part of his life. A few steps from there are the old Weigh House on the Nieuwmarkt, the University at the Oudemannenhuispoort, the flea market on the Waterlooplein, and the Old Jewish quarter with the Jewish Historical Museum South East of the square.

 


In the area South of Dam Square you can find the flower market on the Singel, the famous Art Deco Film House Tuschinski in the Reguliersbreestraat, the majestic Golden Bend mansions on the Herengracht, the antique shops on the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat, and further South, the Rijksmuseum and the Concertgebouw.

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies Ouwerkerk

 

Close to Amsterdam's Centraal Station, North and East of Dam Square, picturesque red-shuttered warehouses border the Brouwersgracht in the hip Jordaan district. Once home to the less fortunate working class, today it is a trendy neighborhood with many fine cafes, bistros, boutiques, galleries, and markets.

THE 5 BEST

ACCOMMODATIONS:

- Hotel 717, Exclusive Private Guesthouse, Prinsengracht 717, tel. 427 0717, www.717hotel.nl (from 425E)

- The Pulitzer Hotel, Prinsengracht 315, tel. 523 52 35, www.hotels.nl/amsterdam/pulitzer (from E275)

- Canal House Hotel, Keizersgracht 148, tel. 622 51 82, www.canalhouse.nl (from E135; temporarily closed for renovations, reopens spring '09)

- Hotel Seven Bridges, Reguliersgracht 31, tel. 623 13 29, www.sevenbridgeshotel.nl (from E110)

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies Ouwerkerk- B&B Sunhead of 1617, Herengracht 152, tel. 626 1809, www.sunhead.com (from E89; also private downtown studios available from E109)

RESTAURANTS:

- De Silveren Spiegel (Dutch), Kattengat 4, tel. 624 65 89

- Claes Claesz (Dutch), Egelantierstraat 24, tel. 625 53 06

- De Eettuin (Dutch), 2e Tuindwarsstraat 10, tel. 623 77 06

- Luden (French), Spuistraat 304, tel. 622 89 79

- Puri Mas (Indonesian rijsttafel), Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 37, tel. 627 76 27

 


BROWN CAFE'S ("KROEG") for a tipple and a chat with the locals:Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies Ouwerkerk

- De Pieper, Prinsengracht 424

- De Druif, Rapenburgerplein 83

- Hoppe, Spui 18

- De Engelse Reet, Begijnensteeg 4

- In 't Aepjen, Zeedijk 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUSEUMS:Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies Ouwerkerk

- Anne Frankhuis, Prinsengracht 263, tel. 556 71 05

- Rembrandthuis, Jodenbreestraat 6, tel. 520 04 00

- Stedelijk Museum, temporarily: Oosterdokskade 3-5, tel. 573 29 11 (will reopen at Museumplein December '09)

- Amstelkring Museum, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40, tel. 624 66 04

- Joods Historisch Museum, Jonas Daniel Meijerplein 2-4, tel. 626 99 45

SHOPPING STREETS/ AREAS:

- Damstraat/Oude & Nieuwe Hooghstraat/ Bijenkorf on Dam Square

- Utrechtse Straat

- P.C. Hooftstraat

- Leidsestraat/Heiligeweg

- De negen straatjes (the nine streets that interconnect the major canals, left and right of the Raadhuistraat, such as

Wolvenstraat, Hartenstraat and Berenstraat)

SPECIALTY SHOPS:

- Puccini Bomboni (best chocolate in town), Singel 184

- P.G.C. Hajenus (Art Deco interior with everything on cigars, pipes, and the art of smoking), Rokin 95

- Hester Van Eeghen Leather Design (purses, wallets, belts), Hartenstraat 37

- Big Shoe (designer shoes for the bigger feet), Leliegracht 12

- Jacob Hooy (Amsterdam's oldest medicinal herb & spice shop), Kloveniersburgwal 12

 


MARKETS:

- Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht

- Vlooienmarkt (flea market), Waterlooplein

- Bloemenmarkt (flower market), Singel

- Noordermarkt (Mondays: household goods; Saturdays: farmers market)

- Albert Cuypmarkt (general products), Albert Cuypstraat between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat (tramline 16 or 24, stop Albert Cuyp)

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies OuwerkerkBIKE RENTAL SHOPS:

- Rent-A-Bike, Damstraat 20-22, tel. 625 50 29, www.bikes.nl

- Bike City, Bloemgracht 68-70, tel. 626 37 21, www.bikecity.nl

- Mike's Bike Tours, Kerkstraat 134, tel. 622 79 70, www.mikesbiketoursamsterdam.com

- Mac Bike Leidseplein, Weteringschans 2, tel. 620 09 85, www.macbike.nl

- Mac Bike Central Station, Stationsplein, tel. 620 09 85, www.macbike.nl

GETTING THERE:

Airlines offering direct flights to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from major U.S. and Candian cities include KLM/North West, Continental, Delta, and United.

There is a fast and frequent train service that connects Schiphol Airport with Amsterdam Central Station (about E3.50) or an Airport Hotel Shuttle Bus departing outside the Arrival Halls (about E12); Taxi: from E40 to get to downtown.

Wandering Through Amsterdam's Canal District, best canal hotels, restaurants, brown cafe's, specialty shops, local markets, museums, bike rental shops, Dam Square, De Pieper, Stedelijk Museum, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Red Light District, Rembrandt House, Hotel 717, Mac Bike Leidseplein, De Silveren Spiegel, Puccini Bomboni, B&B Sunhead of 1617, Antiekmarkt de Looier (antique market), Elandsgracht, Lies OuwerkerkFor more information on accommodations, excursions, passes, maps, bike rentals, cultural events, transportation and boat tours: VVV Amsterdam, tel. 0900-400, www.visitamsterdam.nl , located at Schiphol Airport, Central Station, and Leidseplein. NB: also inquire about special events such as: Museum Weekend (April), Open Garden Days (June), Canal Festival (August), and Open Monument Day (September).

©Lies Ouwerkerk

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

Related items