Architecture in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is often called “The Venice of the North” for its more than 100 kilometres of canals. The three main canals Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, dug in the seventeenth century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city and are part of what is known as the “Grachtengordel” (Canal belt). Alongside the main canals are more than 1500 monumental buildings that were placed on the Unesco World Heritage List in 2010. The Ambassade Hotel owns 12 of these monumental buildings along the Herengracht and the Singel.

Canal houses are often slim (not more than 30 feet wide), high and deep, and are characterized by big narrow windows, decorative gable tops and very narrow stairs. Wealthy merchants, financiers, craftsmen, doctors, lawyers, politicians and artists lived in these houses. There are different kinds of gables: step gables, spout gables, neck gables, bell gables and cornice gables. Because of the danger of flooding, the front door is sometimes higher up and only reachable via stairs.

Canal houses usually had a basement and a loft and attic where trade goods could be stored. A special beam or pulley installation would be located in the attic to hoist up valuable goods, like spices, cotton, or heavier stuff like cocoa. The pulleys are still used for moving furniture.

During your stay you will find a detailed description (located in your hotel room) about the canal house in which your room is situated.