Dam of Hamsters

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in April 2017, so this post may not be representative of this site today.

I posted about Amsterdam a while ago, shortly after having visited, and not in a very positive light. I haven’t visited again and had a slight change of heart, as happened to me with Paris, so while my feelings about my trip and the city haven’t really changed, I realized I never shared the places I saw and the things I did while on the trip, which I think is worth it regardless of how I felt about the city as a whole. So, without further ado: here is Amsterdam.

Colloquially known as the “Venice of the North” due to its canals (which themselves come together to form a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands, as well as its most populous city.

While Neolithic and Roman artefacts have been found, Amsterdam as a settlement began later than other nearby areas, due to the its location in what used to be a wet mire.

The city’s name derives from the Amstel dam (I feel vindicated) that was built in the Amstel river, allowing the nearby area to be inhabited, as it now was more accessible and new residents could travel to other settlements with ease. The area was called Amestelledamme, which means “at the dam of Amstelland,” and by the 14th century the name had evolved to Aemsterdam.

Back in 1345, it was the alleged site of a miracle on Kalverstraat, so that it became an important pilgrimage site. This stopped largely due to the adoption of Protestantism in the Netherlands, to be revived later in the 19th century by Dutch Catholics.

It gained city rights in the early 14th century, and flourished economically through trade and finance, becoming one of the most important ports of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.

Biking is huge — and I mean huge — in Amsterdam. There are biking paths and lanes everywhere, and you must be careful before you cross any of them because bikers will not stop for you. Similar to Rome, I felt like my life was constantly in peril as I walked these Dutch streets, distracted by all the leaning buildings. And there are quite a few of them.

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