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Amsterdam's historic canals

Photo Essay: Exploring Amsterdam’s Historic Canals

Exploring Amsterdam’s historic canals is as important a thing to do as visiting the Red Light District or visiting a “coffee shop.”

Brouwersgracht is one of the oldest and most beautiful canal streets in Amsterdam, just west of the Centrum, inter-linking with many of the main western canals and passing along the north side of the Joordan. Walking along this canal, it’s impossible not to have your camera out – from the interesting house boats and barges, to the bridges and walkways it’s easy to spend an hour in this area just taking photos.

Tip: Visit this area early in the morning on a foggy day and you may end up with some truly fantastic photos.

amsterdam's historic canals

Another part of the Brouwergracht early in the morning.

amsterdam's historic canals

A splash of colour

Shutters adorn many of the older buildings in Amsterdam. They are most likely no longer used to protect the windows but rather add a decorative touch to the otherwise sometimes bland buildings. The canal homes were built at different times over the 17th century and some for different purposes – this is reflected in the style of the architecture.

amsterdam's historic canals

Finally some sunshine!

The sun finally showed itself, washing the buildings, trees and boats in the canal with colour. This was taken outside of the Ambassade Hotel, on the Herengracht. This location is perfect for the tourist as it’s in a quiet spot and close to all the key sights and attractions.

Tip: A good spot for lunch or a mid-day bite to eat is close-by on the Singel: Eetcafe Singel 404

Amsterdam's Canals

The Van Loon Museum

Heading south of the Centrum along the canals, you can visit one of the stately, early 17th century merchant homes that grace the canals in Amsterdam – the Van Loon Museum is on the Keizergracht, was the home of Dutch East-India Company founder Willem van Loon. The visit is worthwhile to get a taste of how the powerful Dutch traders lived in the heyday of the booming trading industry. This photo of the house was taken from the backyard garden right by the coach house, which is being restored.

Amsterdam's Canals

A kerk seen in the distance

One last photo from the western canals in Amsterdam – this time with the view of a church in the distance. Almost every canal has a beautiful scene with either a picturesque bridge or church as a focal point. You see tourists with cameras everywhere and of course, the ever-so-patient Amsterdam natives who bear our fascination with their city.

Of Amsterdam’s historic canals, which one is your favourite to explore?



  1. Your pics of the canals are lovely – would love to visit Amsterdam soon!!

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