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Visitors to Amsterdam are bound to encounter its spellbinding ring of canals. From the three queens, the Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, reminiscent of the Dutch Golden Age, to other major notables like Zwanenburgwal, the concentric canal ring is one of the highlights of this seafarer's city. And every highlight needs a gateway.
Let's start with the highlights first. The house was designed by architect Philip Vingboons for Karel Gerards, an eminent merchant, and was completed by the year 1667. Located in Herengracht 386, it overlooks the (no points for guessing) Herengracht Canal. Inside the house, one can find plenty of miniature models of various canals and the house itself. Also, Het Grachtenhuis has its own interesting tale to tell, from being the base of operations when banker Jan Willink loaned money to the US President John Adams, an amount of 30 million dollars (enough for the Yanks to give the Brits a real trotting in the American War of Independence).
Inside Het Grachtenhuis
From the outside, Het Grachtenhuis looks like any other canal house in Amsterdam, a rectangular trunk topped off with a triangular roof. The splendour of the building is revealed as one steps inside to marvel at the life size wall paintings, gleaming floors and polished staircases, exuding an air of royalty. Popular features include the intricate doll houses, reminiscent of the Dutch Golden Age and the highly informative multimedia exhibitions that walk you through the city's coming of age. There's also a section depicting the various business deals and high-profile meetings that took place between eminent bankers, heads of state and various royalty. Despite all there is to see, it shouldn't take more than an hour to complete your tour of the building.
Welcome to Het Grachtenhuis, aka The Canal House, a patrician building that transports you on a journey through four centuries of Amsterdam's renowned ring of canals. Visitors will be able to discover the history and origin of the city's canal culture with the help of a fully interactive multimedia exhibition inside the house.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm