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Discover the inspiring city of Amsterdam on a comprehensive walking tour from the narrowest house to the widest bridge of this beautiful city built on hundreds of canals and wooden foundations.
Amsterdam has more than one hundred kilometers of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the Grachtengordel. The most exciting feature of the canals are the houseboats. By origin houseboats were a way to deal with the Amsterdam housing shortage, however, nowadays they are still in high demand. Some of the houseboats once were cargo vessels and are now converted into houseboats, other boats were built specifically for this purpose. In Amsterdam, you find these houseboats along the canals and the Amstel river and in the former Amsterdam docklands.
The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) isn't really brand new. It is a 15th-century church, located on Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace. It was built after the Old Church became too small for the growing city population, which explains the name. The Nieuwe Kerk is no longer used for church services but is used as an exhibition space. It is also used for organ recitals. The Nieuwe Kerk is a burial site for Dutch naval heroes, including Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, Commodore Jan van Galen, and Jan van Speyk. The poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel is also buried in the church.
The 800-year-old Oude Kerk ("old church") is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, founded ca. 1213. After the Reformation in 1578, it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam's main red-light district. The floor consists entirely of gravestones. The reason for this is that the church was built on a cemetery.
De Wallen or De Walletjes is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam. It consists of a network of alleys containing approximately three hundred one-room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights. These "kamers" are the most visible and typical kind of red light district sex work in Amsterdam and are a large tourist attraction. De Wallen, together with the prostitution areas Singelgebied and Ruysdaelkade, form the Rosse Buurt (red light areas) of Amsterdam. Of these De Wallen is the oldest and largest area. The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana.
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is one of three palaces in the Netherlands which are at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament. It was built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon and later of the Dutch Royal House. The palace is located on the west side of Dam Square in the center of Amsterdam, opposite the War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk. Most of the year, the Royal Palace is open for visitors with audioguide or pre-booked group tours. It's closed for the special royal events.
The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in the Old Centre district. It is the city's major Catholic church. The basilica has a collection of religious murals. Above the high altar is the crown of Maximilian I, which is a symbol seen throughout Amsterdam. Inside the newly renovated church, there is a 19th-century Sauer Organ, on which concerts are given and mass is accompanied.
You will enjoy the rich culture, history and striking architecture of Amsterdam as you visit the Dam Square, infamous Red Light district, Old and New Church and the Royal Palace. You will also see the unique house boats lining the waterways and Begijnhof Covent courtyard, known as Amsterdam’s oldest inner courts — and one of the city’s best known landmarks.
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