Come to Amsterdam and see the luxurious canal houses with their delightful gabled faces. Ride through the city with its mazes of canals and picturesque bridges. There are more than 1200 bridges in Amsterdam and see the oldest bridge built in 1648.
There is magnificent architecture in Amsterdam. When the structures outlive their usage, the Dutch use their imagination to turn them into different show places.
No story of Amsterdam architecture would be complete without discussing the windmills. They are an iconic part of the landscape no matter where you go in Holland. Don’t forget to visit one of the 8 windmills located in and around Amsterdam.
Houses along the many canals were once homes for the elite and are now museums, office and hotels. These canal area homes feature hidden alleyways with gardens and hidden cubby holes. Built during the Golden Age, canal houses are distinguished by their striking dual entrances, narrow construction and very colorful facades. Canal houses are slim, deep and several stories. Sometimes the front door is quite high up and can only be reached via many stairs.
Stay in a hotel that hides behind the fronts of several of these canal houses. There is no better way to experience the quaint architecture surrounding Amsterdam’s canals. Museums located in a canal house like the Canal House Museum (Grahtenmuseum) situated on the Heregracht showcases the Canal Ring expansion. FOAM Amsterdam is housed in a century-old canal house, and the owners have mixed original architecture with chrome and glass.
Molens or windmills have been a major part of Dutch life for centuries. They mill grains or drain the lowlands. Once Holland had more than 10, 000 windmills, and there are eight in Amsterdam. De Otter located in Amsterdam West built about 1631 is the last remaining windmill of its kind. De Otter is a monument but is not open for visitors. Riekemolen built in 1636, is located near Amstel Park. Riekemolen is a working mill with an electric pumping engine that keeps the garden city of Buitenveldert dry. Molen van Sloten is the only windmill open to visitors. The mill still works to drain water and keep the area dry. Guided tours are available.
Explore the narrowest house in the world to architecture that would be considered weird. The oldest house in Amsterdam, Begijnhof 34 built around 1425 is a wooden building. It was a home meant for single women and has a gothic style frame. Don’t miss the House with the Heads (Het Huis met de Hoofden). Constructed in 1622 The House of Heads is covered in gargoyles, pillars, and heads.
Visit the Royal Palace that stands on Dam Square. Built between 1648, this was Amsterdam’s first city hall. In 1808, Napoleon made this building his official residence and redecorated it in the French Empire style. Stay and visit as much as you like, but realize that the royal family still uses the Royal Palace for official functions.