Heineken and Canals in Amsterdam

With many remnants fully glowing from the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam is a progressive city full of history and architecture that can be admired by all.mmmmDuring my stay in Hannover, Germany, my partner and I agreed to make a couple of trips up north. The first was to Copenhagen, and with very little thought, we easily decided on Amsterdam as our second city to explore.77A5CAA1-9537-4D46-8AD1-36120254E51DWe decided to bus it over and planned it out so that we could sleep on the bus over night and wake up to the hustle and bustle of the city in the morning. The bus dropped us off near the central station, which was only 15 minutes away by foot from our room.2a2e5bf2-437a-40c9-8db8-05f03e901a7eWith only three days to explore, we narrowed down what we wanted to experience, and the first on our list was a boat riding tour through the canals.f1d83df4-70df-4f96-9d9f-b0f8fb674c57For about 60 Antillean Guilders, we reserved a spot on a cute boat that came with a complimentary Heineken and a few snacks. For two hours we cruised through and under numerous canals and bridges while being told descriptive tales of the city.116361c2-5d6d-4481-bd97-74879ff7c781We learned many interesting facts about the layout, architecture, and traditions of the city, all while sipping brew out of a green can with a red star on it that dates back to 1873.6f4783e6-74c7-4dc6-93d3-8c6cac91567dAmsterdam, The Venice of the North,  has approximately 165 canals. The idea and construction of canals dates back to the 17th century. As most of the city was swampland, the design of the canals was to control irrigation, protect the city, and eventually trade.beerAs the city grew, more and more canals were built that made it easier for merchants to trade. Houseboats and houses line the canals, making the view on a boat that much more pleasurable.f9eaaad3-9406-477a-8a22-239f1f601577The foundation of the homes relies on wooden poles to uphold them. Over time, these poles began to rot, making the houses tilt to one side. The images of titled homes is very quintessential to the city and can be seen on most postcards.095384ff-566a-4618-b836-1a2079c17edeAs the city expanded, landfills replaced about half of the water but the original canals still remain, ensuring that the cities history stays in tact.8f041737-a615-4573-b5ab-e85d344c61f2One of the most famous districts known to the city, The Red Light District, is passed by on the tour. Prostitution in the city began during the Middle Ages and continues to this day. Throughout the centuries, different laws and regulations were set in place that labeled how the city would tolerate this line of work. 8ad47d94-f7aa-4983-9dc0-b87d4a79e56cClass and economic status brutally categorized these women as dirty immoral citizens. Overtime brothels and medical rulings became more strict requiring that women receive medical exams and showcase their status by caring around a red or white card. Registered prostitutes carried red cards while infected prostituted carried white cards.a3c9333c-1ad2-4bd4-8e43-689da8943242 In 1988 prostitution became legal with a majority of the women coming from other countries to work. The government is currently working towards reducing the size of the district.774F1371-ED35-4F9B-A87A-20AF24164C70.jpegAnother noteworthy and obvious characteristic of Amsterdam is the countless number of bikes and cyclist. DF33F0FA-E44A-4A52-9F6E-4EABBD9F40CA.jpegCycling has been the most poplar form of transportation for several decades. 4592173b-4909-4c8d-99de-576315f034deThe city has invested in it’s infrastructure making it more reliable and safe for cyclist of all ages to get around town. It’s simply a way of life.CD83F114-AEB9-43DC-BFB8-5443CD0F5744.jpegAside from the overwhelming number of cyclist, the bike garages are something I’ve never seen. Imagine instead of cars, it’s just a load of bikes. Clearly, this excited me.f6129101-990e-42e8-9840-1c8f592596d8Now on to one of my favorite past times, art. Of course, like any major city, museums and galleries are unlimited, but given the time I had, I opted to roam the floors of the Stedelijk Museum.bad747af-c705-4348-930c-030e490e0248The museum opened in 1895 and was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman. Original collections included Asian art, Amsterdam militia pieces, and other artifacts.  9d2bf425-3292-4b56-898a-edc10ec0b939Today, the museum is home to various collections, with each movement of art being represented from the 20th and 21st century.dfd31d20-907c-4da0-a036-586614a83c08Outside of the museum, lays Museumplein, one of the most visited areas of the city. Three of the most well known museums are within walking distance of each other, the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk, an art lovers haven if you will.abbfb015-2b5a-4ea1-b8c2-2f3ad881cab7Also, the infamous “I Amsterdam” sign is located right by the museums. Due to a high volume of tourist, this sign was temporarily removed.7ce89767-f432-4f9f-b5fb-1e1cfd4d9064Unfortunately this city, just like other European cities, suffers from an extreme influx of tourist. They swarm the city center and neighborhoods, making it difficult for local residents to live peacefully in their city.mmmHaving only visited for three days, I wasn’t able to capture as much on camera as I would like. Part of the reason is because of the number of tourist in the city. At one point, it became too much of a hassle to take my camera out among so many people, that I simply gave up.e34848b0-0240-4d0f-959c-76be31e4e445I explored an experienced some of the other recommended “to dos” from various articles such as visiting the flower markets, eating local food, trying out the “cafes”, shopping at boutiques, etc.7660dd8d-0a27-415c-b925-17998139816a It’s a beautiful city full of life and interesting history, but if I ever do visit again, it will be during the week. Please keep that in mind if you decide to visit, and please be mindful of the locals.

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