Since the founding of the city in 1275, Amsterdam’s map has undergone more significant changes than the maps of most other major European cities. The Netherlands is famous for having claimed more land from the sea than any other country in the world besides China (an impressive feat considering the Netherlands is 231 times smaller than China). Over the ages and even now in recent times, countless dams, polders, and canals were constructed, permanently transforming the Amsterdam map and the geography of Holland. The Amsterdam map looked very different when the city was still in the early stages of its development.
Amsterdam in 1538
A brief history on the map of Amsterdam
Amsterdam was originally founded on the banks of the Amstel river. Over time, several canals were added, but perhaps the most significant transformation of the Amsterdam map took place in the 17th century when the iconic canal ring was constructed (which is still the most defining feature of the map of Amsterdam to this day). The construction of this canal ring—which is now one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites—took place during the so-called Golden Age of the Netherlands. This was a period of economic, scientific and artistic prosperity during which a lot of wealth went into the development of the city’s infrastructure (in part to accommodate the expanding trade business). It was during this time that the map of Amsterdam underwent its greatest transformations. Nowadays, even though the old center still maintains most of its 17th-century modifications, historic buildings and charm, the city’s development continues to expand outwards, and so the map of Amsterdam keeps constantly changing (albeit much less drastically). The Amsterdam map contains more than 100 kilometers of waterways, 90 islands, and over 1500 bridges.
What’s the best way to explore the historic center?
One of the most popular ways to explore Amsterdam is by going on a canal cruise. There are several types of cruises available (during the day, in the evening, with lunch/dinner/etc). You can find an overview of these cruises and book tickets here. There are also several Amsterdam walking and bike trips available here.
Amsterdam is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. But don’t just take our word for it: come to Amsterdam and see it for yourself!