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The irresistible charm of Amsterdam's canals
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What would happen to Amsterdam if its canals were taken away? This is a completely legitimate question given how perfectly they symbolise the city's charm around the world and contribute to its appeal. After all, there's a reason Amsterdam is nicknamed Venice of the North! As elements of the Dutch capital's identity, the countless canals are the perfect excuse for a stroll or boat trip!
More than 100 kilometres long, Amsterdam's canals were built from the 17th century, the Golden Age in the history of the Netherlands. The city's cultural and historic symbols, they are crossed by around 1,500 bridges, some of which are the most stunning in the country. Among the hundreds of the city's canals, the concentric canals in Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, which mark the borders of the city's tourist centre, are by far the most famous. Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, they form what is called the "Golden Bend".
One of the main appeals of Amsterdam's canals is that they brilliantly reflect the combination of architecture and culture for which the city has always been known. Some of the most famous museums in Amsterdam are close to the neighbourhood of concentric canals, particularly the <a href="the-anne-frank-house-in-amsterdam.shtml">Anne Frank House</a>, the FOAM Photography Museum, and Museum Willet-Holthuysen. Surrounded by irresistibly charming buildings, the canals perfectly express the highly characteristic spirit and atmosphere of the city.
The three perpendicular streets adjacent to the main canals make up the most popular shopping area in Amsterdam. They're what we call the "Nine streets", or "Negen straatjes" in Dutch. They will give you the opportunity to taste one of the local succulent culinary specialities or browse the most trendy second-hand stores.