Friday, 26 June 2015

The Western Canal Ring, Amsterdam

The Western Canal Ring area in Amsterdam in a Unesco World Heritage Site: it's a real treat  wandering about, admiring the architecture or the many quirky shops that are to be found here.


We usually start from Dam Square, walk down Kalverstraat, the main shopping street, turn right, and these two buildings, one Art Nouveau, one Art Deco, are the landmark, the signal that we are about to enter this very special district in Amsterdam. We tend to walk along the Singel, one of the large canals, for a bit, then walk up one of the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) looking at the shops until we reach the Prinsengracht, the last canal of the ring, then down another of the Nine Streets, and so on and so forth.

Not sure what this building is, but we presume it must be a bank - very fortified

massive doors


The Negen Straatjes are a real delight - full of quirky little boutiques stocking antiques, vintage fashions, housewares and one-off speciality shops: the toothbrush shop exclusively sells just that

or plastic ducks in the Amsterdam Duck Store.
It's a real pleasure wandering around here - during our last two visits we have noticed signs of gentrification - the big designer brands seem to have started moving in here, and this undoubtedly will change the atmosphere of these streets
Hester Van Eeghen's handbag store has been here for years

but this time we noticed that she has opened a shoe shop as well - shoes with her trademark bright primary colours and inspired designs


everything well looked after


with the Dutch flair for simplicity and elegance 

including the pots of herbs in their paper bags in the window.

The contrast between the intimacy of the narrow quiet little streets

and the openness of the canals, is very pleasing


and when the weather is good every one is out - either on a boat or sitting in cafes

and there is an air of celebration all around.

As usual, the queue outside Anne Frank's House is very long

snaking around the block

We continue walking along the edge of the water 

crossing bridges

admiring the architecture

looking closer at some of the buildings


or even closer

and then it's time to join another of the 9 Streets for more window-shopping.

But the canals is what we like best




  1. Colin commented that your photograph of the bank building is the Archives which we visited once and I think you did too, with glass staircase and art gallery in the vaults? All looks lovely.

    1. The City Archives are on Vijzelstraat Avril, while this building is on the Singel. If you scroll down this post
      you can see the City Archives which we visited a few years ago. Both buildings have this Gothic/Art Deco style so I can see why Colin made the comment. Next time I might try and find out what this building on the Singel is.