Monday, March 4, 2013

The Canals of Amsterdam

World Heritage Sites

As I continue to read my new World Heritage Sites book, I was a little surprised to see that the canals of Amsterdam were added in 2010 to the list.  Amsterdam is often a traveler's Most Favorite City in Europe for various reasons--the history, the food, the drugs, the architecture and yes, the canals.  It is a city meant for walking.  The canals are beautiful, no doubt about it, but I did not realize the magnitude of their importance until I read this book.

The canal district of Amsterdam in the Netherlands was built in the 17th century, connecting the south and west of the town to the port.  It involved draining the swamps by building a system of canals in concentric arcs.  Homogeneous gabled houses were built lining these new urban "streets".  It was a huge project, which served as a model for large-scale city planning for centuries to come.  This is Urban Renewal at its best!

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