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Amsterdam's Canal Ring

The Grachtengordel, is comprised of a network of intersecting waterways

Built during the Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Canal Ring, known locally as the Grachtengordel, is comprised of a network of intersecting waterways. These were developed through the drainage and reclamation of land for new development. Yet what was initially a practical feature, allowing the city to grow beyond its fortified boundaries, subsequently evolved into the area’s characteristic gabled canal-side estates and spectacular monuments thanks to financial enrichment from the booming maritime trade. The most famous trademarks of this new canal belt became the concentric loop of the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel canals.

Amsterdammers have always known that their Canal Ring, built during the Golden Age, is extraordinary. Unesco made it official in 2010, when it listed the waterways as a World Heritage site. Today the city has 165 canals spanned by 1753 bridges – more than any other city in the world.

10 things you didn't know about the magical Amsterdam canals