Amster (amster) Dam (dam, dam)

A look out Klary’s kitchen window says it all: water’s half the world in Amsterdam.  Whether you think of it as the Venice of the north, or whether you prefer to call Venice the Amsterdam of the south, you can’t escape the fact that the city lives and breathes on and in the water in a way that few others do.

On a tiny boat piloted by Captain Maria we got within finger-trailing distance of the canals’ cool waters and set out to gain a new perspective on the city.

Over the centuries the Dutch have built an amazing system of bridges

and locks to tame the tides that threaten to engulf the country.  With that much practice and plenty of engineering expertise they’ve come to a peaceful coexistence with the water that’s everywhere.

Lots of people keep a boat right outside the front door

although some take that proposition a little more seriously than others.

Whole neighborhoods float, often in serene decrepitude

often watched over by more imposing residences, some of which are leaning precarionsly, feet in the water,

while others show a whimsical face to passersby.

If your boat needs work you can take it to the shipyard, and if your house needs work

carpenters are the same the world over.

Or if you’ve always wanted to eat in a floating Chinese restaurant, here’s your chance.

One if by land, two if by sea, under the seven pretty bridges all in a row we glide our way back to shore.

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4 Comments on “Amster (amster) Dam (dam, dam)”

  1. Nancy Says:

    I love Amsterdam. It’s so clean and well-kept, and the water is fascinating. I have some questions, and since you’re staying with resident experts maybe you can help me out with them.
    1. How much does the tide swing in there?
    2. Are there restrictions on where and who can park a floating object and live on it? Or can someone just put a barge, houseboat, whatever out someplace where they aren’t blocking traffic? Do they pay property taxes? Do they have something corresponding to an address where mail can be delivered? (Okay, so that’s a whole bunch of questions by way of inviting more discussion about the floating lifestyle.)
    3. Is there fishing in the canals, and if so, are the fish considered safe to eat? Clean city or no, there’s still something about all that water amongst all those houses that makes me wonder about biological uptake.

    Thanks for a great travelogue. It’s so nice that Klary came to visit you before and you’re visiting her now in her new digs.


  2. ah! now I get it: that’s why Amsterdam is sometimes called The Venice of the North!

  3. islandlass Says:

    Abra,

    Looks like you’re having a wonderful trip through Amsterdam. I can just imagine how much more diverse your delicious food repertoire will become!

    And thank you for your kind words.

    H

  4. Barry Twyman Says:

    Really jealous , I hope you Both have a wonderful holiday …… from your holiday !


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