Saturday, February 9, 2013

Amsterdam of Yesteryear Today

Today I toured the canals of Amsterdam on a boat.  Created in the 1600s, the canals helped Amsterdam grow in population and trade, enabling merchandise and people easier access to the area.  Narrow structures were built along the canals as warehouses to hold goods and to house sailors and their families.  Amsterdam requires that the front facades of these buildings be preserved, enabling us to envision how the area looked hundred of years ago.

Houses are narrow but long and tall.  The wider the house, the higher the tax.
A hook at the top of the house is used to pull up or lower down heavy items through the large windows,
a method still used to this day.

Houses did not have numbers until the 1800s.
Residences were distinguished by the design of the glass above the front door.
The lower door in the middle was for servants.

Before houses were numbered, a tradesman could distinguish his residence by a plaque.

The houses along the canals have been esthetically maintained over the centuries.
Amsterdam is below sea level.  The houses shift and lean.