Eastern Canal Ring

Amsterdam's 17th-century Golden Age left behind a tidemark of magnificent buildings along its lovely canals. The point where these canals intersected with Nieuwe Spiegelstraat became known as the Gouden Bocht (Golden Bend), because houses here were occupied by the richest families of Amsterdam. Elaborate gables, richly decorated facades, finely detailed cornices, colored marbles, and heavy doors created imposing architecture that suits the bank headquarters of today as well as it did the richest grandees of yore. This area includes many such time-burnished marvels, but—to an even greater degree than with the Western Canal Ring and the Jordaan—this part of the city remains a scene of contrasts. Amsterdam's richest stretches of canals, the Eastern Canal Ring, which still glitters with the sumptuous pretensions of a Golden Age past, is juxtaposed with the quickly gentrifying realities of the two commercial avenues, Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein, that fully reflect Amsterdam's present as a truly global village. Standout sites to visit here include the elegant Museum Van Loon (once the quarters of a very rich 17th-century Amsterdammer), the marvelous Stadsarchief Amsterdam (City Archives)—if only for the building itself—and the odd but wonderful Tassenmuseum Hendrikje (Hendrikje Museum of Bags and Purses).

POINTS OF INTEREST

Willet-Holthuysen Museum

Visit this house museum for a chance to imagine what it was like to live in a gracious mansion on…

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Magere Brug

Of Amsterdam's 60-plus drawbridges, this is the most famous and it provides gorgeous views of the Amstel and surrounding area.…

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Museum van Loon

Once home to one of Rembrandt's most successful students, Ferdinand Bol, this house and its twin, No. 674 next door,…

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