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We spent a weekend in Amsterdam in December last year after my business meeting.  Neither one of us had visited Amsterdam recently and with only 2 days – we started with a canal boat tour of the city – the best way to see this place properly and leisurely. It was sunny but much colder than we expected.

We started the tour near Ronkin, headed down river Amstel (Binnenamstel), and turned into the canal Herengracht.

One of the “skinny” footbridge – a look alike of the Magere Brug.

Near the “Golden bend” at Herengracht where many of the houses had a wider facade facing the canal. Compare these with those below.

I hear that on average, one car per week plunges into the canal. I can imagine someone doing parallel parking in the dark and misses … (on certain stretches, there are no curb!)

Because the buildings are narrow, the stairs are even narrower, the hook at the top of the buildings is used to hoist furniture up and deliver it through the window.

There are bikes everywhere and they are a menace to pedestrians. It is a bit like having NYC messenger biker multiply by 1000’s on narrow streets a few feet from water.

The facades of the buildings are so varied and appealing to look at – if I have the time, I would photograph or even draw all of them (comme Michel Delacroix) – someone must have done this for the entire Amsterdam before.

House boats.

Our tour boat ventured out to the harbor via the Central Station, pass the custom house (see above) and the VOC ship. Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie – the United East India Company is reputedly the first multinational that issued stocks, it had a 21 year monopoly on Asian trade (this ship is a replica).

Just to the left of the VOC ship in the photo above and in the photo below (please ignore reflection) is NEMO, a science center built by Renzo Piano.

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