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Explore Amsterdam's Western Canal Belt - Amsterdam Walking Tour

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Introduction and Starting Point: Torensluis Bridge over the Singel
Amsterdam canal houses on the Singel overlook the wide, arched Torensluis

Amsterdam canal houses on the Singel overlook the wide, arched Torensluis

© 2006 Shannon McAllister, licensed to About.com

Tour Basics

  • Starting point: Torensluis bridge, just north of Raadhuisstraat on the Singel canal. Tram lines 1, 2, 5, 13, 14 and 17 stop close to this area.

  • Duration: About two hours, depending on pace and optional stops to eat or explore museums and attractions more thoroughly.

  • Keep in mind: Weather in Amsterdam changes often and quickly; bring an umbrella, a wind-proof jacket and a willingness to take shelter inside a cozy café if necessary. Comfortable walking shoes are a must on the cobblestoned streets and sidewalks.

  • Watch out for: Bikers! Before crossing intersections or hopping off the sidewalk for a better vantage point, be sure to look around for bikers zipping by without warning. Cars are a given, but they're easier to hear.

  • A good Amsterdam map is a must!

Torensluis

  • Completed in 1648, the Torensluis is Amsterdam's oldest remaining bridge. At 39 meters, it is also the city's widest.

  • The bridge crosses the Singel, which served as a moat around the walled city center of Amsterdam until the early 1600s.

  • Toren is Dutch for "tower" and refers to the Jan Roodenpoortstoren, which stood on the site from 1616 to 1829. Sluis is Dutch for "lock."

  • Barred windows of a former prison are still visible under the bridge.

  • The larger-than-life bust is of Multatuli (the pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker), author of "Max Havelaar," a famous book about abuse and suffering in Dutch colonies.

  • The patio at Café Van Zuylen (pictured above) is one of the largest in Amsterdam.

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