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The Dam Square can be rightly considered as the epicentre of the Amsterdam City Center. This old center of the city is rich in history, architecture and culture. Some of the beautiful bridges that let you navigate across the city center have been around since the 17th Century and the magnificent buildings that dot this area belong to the medieval period. There are several options for a quick bite and even for a laid back lunch, if hunger strikes during your escapade. Global, retail outlets are also available but the essence of the historic, city center are the local vendors and their charming shops.
This distinctive bridge over the historic Singel canal has stood since 1648 and is easily identified by its unusual width. 39 meters (128 feet) wide, the bridge is able to hold the terraces of two nearby cafés, a statue to Multatuli, and a street large enough for cars to pass over. The bridge, whose name means "tower lock," held a tower known as the Jan Roodenpoortstoren until 1829, and close examination of the bridge's stonework still reveals the shape of the tower that once stood there. In its long history it has also served as a prison, and barred windows of the dungeons can still be seen underneath.
Dutch writer Eduard Douwes Dekker is best known by his pen name, Multatuli, and was one of the most prominent critics of the Dutch colonial system (as well as a favored author of Sigmund Freud). In 2002, he was declared the most important Dutch writer of all-time. A statue to Multatuli now sits on the Torensluis bridge, over the Singel canal, and was created by Dutch artist Hans Bayens. The statue features a stylized bust of the author, looking out over the terraces of the cafés that now dominate the bridge.
Nel XIII secolo qui venne costruita la diga del fiume Amstel e sulle rive del fiume venne fondata una piccola comunità di pescatori chiamata Amstelerdam. Le barche potevano scaricare qui la loro merce e sulle rive del Damrak. Quando il Nieuwe Kerk venne ricostruito e venne costruito il Palazzo Reale (anticamente il Municipio) la piazza chiusa serviva come centro della città, per motivi tanto sociali quanto amministrativi. La città veniva governata e ordine e legge venivano mantenuti da qua, come si può osservare nelle immagini delle pubbliche esecuzioni su un patibolo di fronte al Municipio. Dopo la seconda guerra mondiale, il Monumento in ricordo della guerra è stato eretto in un la piazza del Dam che costituisce oggi un punto di incontro per migliaia di persone e molti piccioni.
Singel is the innermost of Amsterdam's semicircular ring of canals and is one of the city's oldest. In fact, the canal was originally a defensive moat that encircled the Medieval city walls. The land encompassed by it used to be the entirety of Amsterdam, until 1585 when the city began to expand beyond the protective embrace of the Singel. The canal hems the inner city center, its arch linking Ij Bay to Muntplein where it meets the Amstel River. Cafes and bars cluster along the banks of the tree-lined canal, its waters plied by colorful boats sailing past typically Dutch facades. On quiet days, undisturbed by movement, the tranquil waters reflect the picturesque scenes that surround the Singel. Several historic attractions also fringe the canal, including the Torensluis bridge, the Munttoren, the Oude Lutherse Kerk, and De Dolphijn - the centerpiece of Rembrandt's The Night Watch.
Lovingly refered to as the 'Venice of the North', Amsterdam is a city with unique geographical features. Through the Defence Line of Amsterdam, water was used as a shield to protect the city in times of war. The fortification includes seriers of forts constructed around the city with tracts that can be filled with water to refrain the enemies from entering the city. The Defence Line of Amsterdam has never witnessed combats but its unique construction and use of hydraulics has earned it an UNESCO World Heritage Site status.