Amsterdam: Brouwersgracht / Binnen Oranjestraat

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Houses at the corner of Brouwersgracht and Binnen Oranjestraat.

When you view the photo is a larger size you’ll notice how crooked the house at the corner is. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember, but more recently experts have warned that changes in the Dutch climate have lead to lower ground water levels, which in turn causes some historic houses in Amsterdam to subside.

Tourboats at Rokin, Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rederij P. Kooij is one of several popular tour boat companies in Amsterdam, providing trips through the city’s canals.

Kooij is situated in the Rokin, or what’s left of it. This water used to run from the river Amstel to Dam Square. Remember, Amsterdam = Dam in the river Amstel. At the time, the water came up to the buildings at the back of the Kalverstraat (to the left, but not seen in this picture).

Tour guides often claim the name Rokin is a reference to the word ‘rak’ — which means straight canal or straight river.

But that is not how Rokin got its name.

In the 16th century, the houses in the Kalverstraat near Dam square were to be shortened — a procedure at that time referred to, in Dutch, as ‘inrukken’ (krimp or withdraw). The street thus created was at first called Ruck-in, later Rock-in, and most recently Rokin.

In 1936, 2/3 of Rokin — the part between tour company Kooij in this picture and Dam square further north — was filled in.

The yellow contraption in the picture is a piece of equipment used in the building of a new metro subway line — yet another assault on the city by clueless politicians trying to find ever more creative ways to spend taxpayer money while screwing up the city.

Amsterdam introduces new traffic rules for its canals

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is a wonderful city any time of the year, but even more so during the sunny months. When the weather is fine, many Amsterdammers take to the water.

The city has 165 canals with a total length of 100 kilometers. This accounts for the fact that Amsterdam is a city of 90 islands — and some 1500 bridges. No wonder Amsterdam is called “The Venice of the North.”

Over the past ten years, the number of pleasure boats coursing through the canals has doubled to 14.000 vessels.

That is why Amsterdam is introducing some new rules for the watery road (as well as highlighting some old ones too few people observe).

Pictured here is Prinsengracht near Noordermarkt. In the distance is a commercial tour boat. The canal is lined by houseboats.