When in Amsterdam: facts about canal houses
Our city has a rich history, and much of it can still be seen in Amsterdam's canal houses. Not many people know the origins of the little things that can be seen all over the streets. So this time I thought it would be fun to dedicate a blog to typical little facts that make your visit to our city just a little more fun.
For example, did you know that there is a difference in the windows of canal houses? Some windows consist of one big window and others of all small squares. People used to pay taxes on the windows. The more squares visible in the windows, the more prestige and money you had. If you pay close attention, you will see that there are some canal houses with wooden boards in front of the windows. This is on purpose, so that one did not have to pay taxes on the windows.
Ready for more fun facts like this?
Many canal houses have an entrance at the top of the stairs and an entrance below the stairs. The entrance at the top of the stairs was for well-to-do, wealthy people. The entrance under the stairs was often used exclusively by servants and staff.
Another funny fact to know is that if you look closely at the canal houses, you will see that they are generally very narrow. I can tell you, they are not only narrow, but also very deep. This had everything to do with the fact that you used to pay taxes on the width of your house. So, the narrower, the less tax you had to pay.
The symbol for Amsterdam: XXX
As you wander through Amsterdam, you may see the city's "XXX" symbol on buildings, flags, local food brands and bollards (known locally as Amsterdammertjes). More recent versions of the coat of arms bear the Dutch words "Heroic, Determined, Merciful."
Did this blog make you curious about even more facts and trivia about Amsterdam's history? If so, here are three very nice museums that I recommend visiting during your stay in Amsterdam. Of course, entrance tickets for these museums are available at our reception desk.
We start with the Willet-Holthuysen. This house was once owned by a very eccentric woman. Upon her death, she left the house to the city on the condition that it be opened as a museum.
The Van Loon museum is actually somewhat the same as the Willet-Holthuysen. Only the Van Loon museum has a carriage house as an extra. I don't understand how it's possible, but it just still smells like horse.
Finally, it is fun to visit the Grachtenmuseum. Here you will find a lot of information about the history and construction of the canals and the buildings.