Amsterdam canals: from the sublime to the ridiculous

posted in: Cool stuff | 1

With its 165 canals, Amsterdam is famous for its relationship with the water. If you then combine this with another popular facet of the city – its craziness – then you get an amazing collection of fun stuff happening on (and in) the canals.

The canals of Amsterdam
The canals of Amsterdam

The Gay Pride Parade

Evey year, on the first weekend of August, Prinsengracht (one of the main historical canals of Amsterdam) hosts the Gay Pride Parade, also known as Canal Parade Amsterdam. During the day the canal is full of all kinds of boats, from the official boat of the Amsterdam municipality to the S&M boat…

For more info on this festival, check the official website www.amsterdamgaypride.nl

One of the boat during the Gay Pride in Amsterdam
One of the boats during Gay Pride in Amsterdam

Gemeente Amsterdam Boat
Gemeente Amsterdam Boat

Grachten Festival

Evey year, in August, the Grachten Festival (www.grachtenfestival.nl) transforms the canals of Amsterdam in an open space for concerts and shows. These are mostly for free and are definitely something you don’t want to miss! To have an idea of the atmosphere you can feel during the concerts of the Grachten festival, have a look at the picture below:

Grachten Festival Amsterdam
Grachten Festival Amsterdam

Do you belive me if I tell you that what you see in the picture is a canal? Yes, it’s Prinsengracht during the main concert of the Grachten festival. The canal is invaded by boats and the whole street close to the canal is full of people that want to enjoy the music.

Queen’s Day

Of course one of the days when the canals get crazy is Queen’s Day! If you have a boat during Queen’s Day you MUST use it! Because a picture is worth a thousand words, have a look at some images of the Queen’s day in Amsterdam:

Queen's Day Amsterdam
Queen’s Day Amsterdam
Queen's Day Amsterdam
Queen’s Day Amsterdam
Queen's Day Amsterdam
Queen’s Day Amsterdam

Beside the official events, the canals of Amsterdam can surprise you every day with something fun. Since our office is on Prinsengracht it’s quite common to have a look out of the windows and see something strange going on…one day, for example, a canal was full of women in bikinis on surfboards for a commercial.

Women in bikini for a commercial in an Amsterdam canal
Women in bikinis for a commercial in an Amsterdam canal

During the event SAIL 2010 (a big event held every 5 years) one day was dedicated to “Boat-building for beginners”; during that day was possible to see some really fun boats on the canals, such as the following:

Boat made out of recycled materials
Boat made out of recycled materials
Boat made out of bushes
Boat made out of bushes
Shipwrecked boat
Shipwrecked boat
A "clog boat"
A “clog boat”
A "Guitar boat"
A “Guitar boat”
"Car" Boat
“Car” Boat
Flintstone Boat
Flintstone Boat
Caravan Boat
Caravan Boat

Everyday the canals of Amsterdam can surprise you with something special. During the winter, for example, you can see people skating on the frozen canals.

Winter skate in Amsterdam
Winter skate in Amsterdam

And during the summer there are some crazy people so brave to swim in the canals…

And if you want an ice-cream, well, you just need to wait for the Ice-Cream boat!

Ice-cream boat
Ice-cream boat

Another funny thing you can see is the boat from the municipality cleaning the bottom of the canals. What do they find when they clean? Bikes, of course!

On Sunday, if you are lucky, you can see this small music boat going around in the canals playing some music.

Be aware that few months ago some people also spotted a shark in the canals, so if you decide to swim in one of them, be extra-careful :)

Do you have any pictures of something strange/funny/unusual that you have seen in one of the canals of Amsterdam?

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