In Dutch a canal is a gracht (pronounced ‘khrakht’) and the main canals form the central grachtengordel (canal ring).
They may seem simply picturesque, but Amsterdam’s Canal Ring, built during the Golden Age of the early 1600s, is an extraordinary achievement, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. With 165 canals spanned by 1753 bridges, more than any other city in the world, Amsterdam is truly a city like no other.
The canals of Amsterdam are but a few of the multitudes of canals that bisect The Netherlands that were built not for decorative reasons, but were critical for transportation and for keeping the sea at bay; today they offer a romantic backdrop for a journey filled with history, art, architecture, world-class cuisine, and, most famously in the springtime, tulips.
Still used for pleasure cruising as well as commercial transport, Holland and Belgium’s ultramodern river cruising boulevards are still full of life, with people working, shopping, and living their lives. Cruising with them, aboard a stylish and comfortable river cruise ship, offers the kind of up close and intimate perspective only available from the water. Each spring these tranquil waterways are your host to the millions of tulips and other flowers that bloom as they welcome the warmth of seasons changing.