Scenes from an Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Posted on 20. Mar, 2013 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Netherlands, Press Trips

It hardly gets more touristy/iconic than this, right?

While I usually prefer to tick off just a few landmarks and then discover the city’s cool neighborhoods, hopping on a canal cruise was of course never part of my master plan in Amsterdam. Not that there’s anything wrong with it - it’s just not something I would normally do (mainly because I’m cheap, and don’t want to pay for attractions when I travel, but shhh).

But mix rain, freezing temperatures, a persisting cold and sore feet, and voilà, I’m on a boat to touristville.

But boy, was I glad to have the chance to simply sit back, enjoy the views and the jokes of the on-board guide, and learn a few fun-facts about Amsterdam on the way.

This is one of the unique perspectives that only canal cruises offer: the Seven Bridges point. It’s the only spot in the whole city where you can see seven bridges line up behind the other in the distance. Sure, you sort of need a magnifying glass to actually see the said bridges, but still. Pretty awesome.

One of the biggest problems with the canals is what goes in and on it - on purpose or by accident. Up until a few years ago, there were no railings around the canal, meaning that anything with a set of wheels could simply roll into the canal overnight and disappear in the dark waters forever.

But one day, insurance companies, being their usual miser selves, decided that enough was enough, and that they weren’t going to pay for canal-related incidents anymore - that’s when they installed railings on pretty much every single canal in the city. All for the sake of  clean canals, according to them.

Speaking of dirt… Rumor has it that the Heineken brewery uses canal water for its beer production -  but only for overseas client! Locals can drink regular, pollution-free Heineken. Urban legend, I hope?

Another interesting fact that I learned during the canal cruise was about Anne Frank’s House - did you know that the renovations were made possible because Steven Spielberg donated the profits generated by The Schindler’s List to the museum? Talk about having your heart in the right place! Kudos, mister.

For the Anne Frank House Museum is one of the most interesting, oddly fascinating and moving museums I have ever visited.

This is the legendary bicycle-park near Amsterdam Centraal station - more than 10,000 bikes park there daily, and it’s not even close to what the real demand is. Our guide estimated that around 15,000 more spaces would be necessary to accommodate everybody, in this section of the city only.

Because Amsterdam does not kid with its bikes - more than just a lethal danger to lunatic tourists, they’re an intrinsic part of the city’s identity, just as the canals. Incidentally, over 75,000 bikes are found in the canals of Amsterdam every year!

Don’t tell my hipster friends, but I had a lot of fun on that boat. So much, that I would definitely regret not doing it, and that I see what the fuss is all about now. And most of all, don’t tell them that I would gladly do it again in a heartbeat.

Have you been on a canal cruise in Amsterdam? Did you find it too touristy, or rather relaxing and fun?

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Visit Amsterdam & Eurail.com - but I genuinely enjoyed my canal cruise (it really does offer gorgeous scenery, and also I’m very lazy).

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18 Responses to “Scenes from an Amsterdam Canal Cruise”

  1. Andrea

    20. Mar, 2013

    I can’t believe I’ve been to Amsterdam like 5 times and have never done this…

    Reply to this comment
  2. Aggy

    20. Mar, 2013

    I did when I was a little kid, barely remember anything, should definitely do it again. Love the pictures!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Michelle

    21. Mar, 2013

    The only thing I like more than an open-top bus tour is a river/canal tour!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Alouise

    22. Mar, 2013

    I did a canal cruise in Amsterdam too, but it was an evening, booze kind of cruise so I sadly don’t remember a lot of the sites we went by. I’d definitely love to take a canal cruise in Amsterdam during the day.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      28. Mar, 2013

      That’s a funny story! :) Indeed, you should visit again in the day, it’s awesome!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Jenna

    22. Mar, 2013

    I haven’t been to Amsterdam yet, but I did take canal cruise in Ghent. I was a little hesitant too, but it turned out to be a lot of fun, and it gives a unique perspective of the city!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      28. Mar, 2013

      I think it’s probably even more impressive than Ghent, just by the size of the city!

      Reply to this comment
  6. Lesley Peterson

    23. Mar, 2013

    Loved these pics, Marie! Seeing Amsterdam from the water is a must, a new perspective on one of my favorite cities.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Laura @Travelocafe

    25. Mar, 2013

    I love the way you have presented Amsterdam. I have almost made it back there last winter, but something came up… uh, better luck maybe in summer…

    Reply to this comment
  8. Abby

    29. Mar, 2013

    Gorgeous! Not enough people write about Amsterdam’s beauty. I was struck by it during my (short) visit there many years ago. Of course, when I was there, there was an awful trash strike, so the beauty was sort of camouflaged lol.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      08. Apr, 2013

      Amsterdam is gorgeous - except for its central island around the train station. I hate this place! :-P

      Reply to this comment
  9. Stunning! Amsterdam is so picturesque! Brings back nostalgic memories of strolling through the canals.

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    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      18. Apr, 2013

      Thanks! Amsterdam is very, VERY photogenic, even from a boat!

      Reply to this comment

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