Amsterdam's Canal Houses

The character of Amsterdam's central district is defined by the townhouses that line the canal rings. This unique urban form is an UNESCO World Heritage Area.  

View of renovated canal houses in the Jordaan residential district

Constructed during the 17th century these picturesque abodes now known for their aesthetics performed an important commercial function. The housing construction encouraged water traffic so the canals became an efficient way of rapidly transporting goods around the city.

View of canal houses along the Herengracht (main canal)

The canal houses are narrow, tall and deep. The building design is a direct result of the cost of land plots that was charged by width.

View of canal houses in the Jordaan District which was once home to the very poor.

In some of the houses I n the early period the front door can only be reached via stairs because of flooding.  Many stoops disappeared in the 19th with the main entry via the basement.

Entry to Mr Jordaan Hotel

Amsterdam's canal houses usually had a basement and loft and attic where goods could be stored.

Diners enjoying the sunshine in the Jordaan District.

A special supporting beam was installed to support a pulley system for hoisting goods.These pulleys are used today for renovations,building work and for moving furniture through furniture the windows.

Wandering in Amsterdam's main shopping district

 Many of the older canal houses have decorative gable facades in a variety of styles. These included simple triangles, the spout, the step, the neck in the baroque style of Louis XIV and the bell in a symmetric form typical of the Louis XV period.

Decorative canal house facades along a canal in the Jordaan residential district

Looking on longingly....view of the cheese tasting shop in the heart of Amsterdam's main shopping district.

In the heart of Amsterdam's shopping dIstrict


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