The Netherlands
December 1996

Amsterdam, seaport and principal city of the western Netherlands, in Noord-Holland (North Holland) Province, near The Hague. Amsterdam is the country's constitutional capital; the real seat of government, however, is in The Hague.

Amsterdam is divided by more than 80 km (50 mi) of canals into about 90 islands joined by about 400 bridges. Almost the entire city rests on a foundation of piles driven through peat and sand to a firm substratum of clay.

Click on flag to listen to Netherlands' national anthem: Wilhelmus van Nassouwe.

I took a canal tour in one of these glass boats. While cruising, they play this taped commentaries in five languages (English last) as we go through the interconnected canals.

from the inside

Street frontage is such a scarce and valuable resource in Amsterdam that houses tend to be narrow and deep. The house to the right (just beside the brown house) is Amsterdam's narrowest just slightly wider than the door. Notice that they all have hoist and pulleys to haul in furnitures through the windows as they will not fit thru the doors and stairs.

behind in the background is Amsterdam's Centraal Station where I took my train to Paris

an Amsterdam "coffee shop" that sells nice fresh produce, one of the unique liberating features of this great city

notice the all-brick sidewalk that doubles as residential parking; the bike racks are ubiquitous around here

Amsterdam night