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Amsterdam, the Crooked

Don't call it Venice of the North

[Tripper: Paola]
ITPensiero LiberoAmsterdam

I have always wondered why Amsterdam is called the Venice of the North.
It is undoubtedly a city of water, after all its name means the Dam on the Amstel river and the canals are fundamental part of its urban scenery. Precisely for this reason it seems to me that comparing it to any other city is an understatement.

Amsterdam, la storta

Amsterdam the Crooked

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Houses along canals

Amsterdam is Amsterdam. There is no place in the world like this.
The houses in Amsterdam are stilt houses, resting on wooden poles driven into clay, in layers of peat and water until they reach solid sand over 11 meters deep.
And they are crooked houses: forward and sideways like tired toy soldiers.
The adjustments of time and some sagging have caused the houses to take on this typical lopsided profile, where a house seems to support the neighboring one. But they also lean forward because in ancient times these houses served as warehouses and, with a slight forward tilt, it was easier to lift the goods without banging on the facade.

And then there are the channels. Their average depth is 3 meters and they say: 1 meter of dirt, 1 meter of bicycles and 1 meter of water.
It is not hard to believe that this is indeed the case. The water is not crystal clear and with over 1.3 million bicycles for just over 800 thousand inhabitants, it is not strange to think that a good part ends up in the canals.
But their charm remains unchanged.
There are those who wait thirty years to be allowed to moor a Housbot along a canal. The houseboats are lodgings in all respects, with connections to the water and sewage system and make the overall scenario even more romantic. Living here is a privilege.
The most famous canals, Prinsengracht - the Princes 'canal, Keizersgracht - the Emperor's canal, Herengracht - The Lords' canal and Singel - the oldest canal, have been included in the Unesco list as a World Heritage Site.
Owning a house overlooking one of these canals is also a luxury. Taxation is based on the width of the facade, which is counted in the number of windows and access stairs, so the houses often have very narrow facades to expand internally, as can be seen at number 7 of Singel, where the house stands. narrower than the city.
If the history of the city is not as old as that of Venice, it still has a very particular path, which has seen it at the center of the world economy in what is called the Dutch golden century: the 1600s. The city at that time traded triangularly with the Asian suburbs to import raw materials at very low cost and, thanks to the factories, floridly feed the local praise. In 1609 Amsterdam was the largest business center in Europe, and also played an important role on the scientific and artistic front.

Today the city and the whole country are among the happiest in the world for healthy life expectancy, for the per capita income among the highest in the world, for social support and for the low levels of corruption, all aspects on which Venice and the whole of Italy have a lot of ground to recover.
So don't call it Venice of the North, let it be unique and celebrate it as such.

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Bicicletta floreale

Floral bicycle

FAQScopri di più

Q. why is Amsterdam called the Venice of the north?
A. Amsterdam is positioned between the sea and the course of the Amstel river, which has been channeled in a circular shape into many canals that characterize the city crossed by hundreds of bridges. This is the reason for the similarity with Venice.

Q. Which Amsterdam canal tours are best?
A. We preferred a tour with a small number of people, to make the most of the visit and at the same time taste the typical Dutch cheeses, accompanied by a glass. You can book it here: Amsterdam: Classic Boat Cruise with Cheese & Wine Option