Amsterdam is a city full of culture and history and one of the best ways to experience it is by taking a canal tour. Canal tours are an effective way to see the city from a different perspective and they are also a lot of fun.
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a canal city. It is called the Venice of the North due to the abundance of canals and canal tours are the only thing not to be missed in a city famous for its canals.
Why Amsterdam has canals?
Part of the Dutch territory lies below sea level. For this reason, the Dutch use the name Netherlands, which means Low Country. Dykes were built to prevent flooding from the sea and windmills were built to dispose of excess water. When the windmills became insufficient, the number of mills was increased and water transfer was increased.
The swamps that emerged after the reduction of water in the city were drained and canals were built over the centuries to create settlements. What keeps the city standing are the long wooden logs. You can see thousands of them during your boat tour. This is necessary for the houses to remain stable on the ground, which has a mud floor and a soft texture. For example, did you know that there are over 10,000 wooden piles under the Dam Royal Palace?
When the canals were being built, people used to throw garbage and filth from their homes into the canals. This caused the canals to become a hotbed of germs. With the increase in bacteria, epidemics broke out and became one of the places with the highest mortality rate in Europe. Although we don’t see clear water today, it’s certainly not as filthy as it was in the 17th century.
During cleaning times, more bicycles come out of these canals instead of garbage. As such, the commercial intelligence of the Dutch people opened these canals to tourism. Today, besides being a means of transportation, it has become an activity where tourists can visit Amsterdam.
With its hundreds of bridges, the canals of Amsterdam have earned the right to be included in the Unesco World Heritage List with its magnificent beauty. Amsterdam canal tours are the ideal way to see the city from a different perspective. When you walk around the streets, it is not possible to see many houses overlooking the Amsterdam canals.
The obliquity of the houses is also among the issues emphasized during canal tours. If you keep your eyes open, you can see these houses in many parts of Amsterdam. Since the entrances and stairs of the houses were narrow, they used to pull the goods up with the hooks on the houses and put them through the windows. It is said that they were tilted so that the houses would not be damaged.
What to expect on a canal tour in Amsterdam?
The Amsterdam canal tour is a great way to see the city from a different perspective.
- The duration of the canal tours is about 1 hour.
- There is an audio narration service in the boat, they give you a headset when you enter the boat, but the headset they give you is a bad headset, so it can come out of your ear when you turn your head or touch the cable. Bring your own headphones if you want to be comfortable.
- During the tour, the formation of the canals that make Amsterdam Amsterdam, the development of Amsterdam and the process until today are explained in detail.
I recommend boat tours in Amsterdam, make sure to plan accordingly and make time for boat tours. Before I forget, make sure your seat has a retractable window. Some seats do not have windows, they are just made of glass. For 1 hour you may have to watch the outside through the glass.
During your boat trip you really need to take in your surroundings. Especially the boat houses. Slum-like boat houses are quite common in Amsterdam. If the government is aware of this, they also provide electricity to the owner. Depending on the house, some of them also serve as hostels. Staying on Amsterdam’s famous canals is also a different experience.
Some of the structures consist of real boats converted into houses. It might be good to visit a boat museum to see what it is like to live on a boat and what you need to live. The Houseboat Museum, which measures 23m x 4.5m, offers you these opportunities. Located on Prinsengracht, the houseboat museum is free if you have an Amsterdam Card.
Where do Amsterdam canal tours depart from?
Boat tours have many departure points. However, the most central one is located near Amsterdam Centraal train station, on Damrak Street, directly opposite the Amsterdam Sex Museum.
What is the price of canal tours in Amsterdam?
If you have an Amsterdam Card, you can enjoy the Amsterdam Canal Tours for free. If you do not have this card, the cost of joining the boat tour is 16€ per person.