- 5 different cards
- 10 envelopes
In 1912, a spectacular discovery was made in the library of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Amsterdam. By chance, researchers discovered the original 18th-century copper plates for the famous Grachtenboek (Canal Book) by Caspar Philips. Originally published in 1768, it contains no less than 1,400 architecturally accurate engravings of house fronts on the capital’s most important canals. Thanks to the discovery, a significant number of monuments could be faithfully restored to their former glory. As a result, the glorious splendor of Amsterdam’s historic center has been largely preserved. UNESCO listed the canal ring as a World Heritage Site in July 2010.
Living on the chic Herengracht, or Gentlemen’s Canal, has been a dream for almost every Amsterdammer since its inception, four hundred years ago. The Herengracht was prime real estate for the up-and-coming merchant elite who, in their attempts to outdo their neighbors, filled the banks of the canal with one grand house after another. In 1736, a house on the prestigious Herengracht would have cost an average of 2.6 million euros (in today’s money and after correction for inflation). In the centuries that followed, the value of the houses along Herengracht in Amsterdam rose and fell within limits of approximately 40%, but it was not until 2008 that prices were back to 1736 levels.
In the 17th century, Amsterdam traded goods with 625 ports around the globe and became the world’s most important hubs of economic activity. Like a magnet, the city attracted thousands of immigrants looking for work and a more tolerant place to live. During the Dutch Golden Age, its population grew at an incredible rate from 30,000 to 175,000 people. The influx of foreign talent, craftmanship, new visions and an international extension of the Dutch trading network, led to a boost in prosperity. The Prinsengracht, the longest (3,2 km) of the main canals, was lined with storage depots and warehouses. Today, the most famous building on the bank of this canal is the Anne Frank House: with more than 1.1 million visitors a year, it’s one of the best visited musea in The Netherlands.
If you ask an Amsterdammer what’s in the canals, the answer you’ll probably get is: “One meter of water, one meter of mud and one meter of stolen bicycles”. That’s a pretty good estimate — except for the bicycles. The Keizersgracht, or Emperor’s Canal, is the widest (31 m.) of the three main canals. Its name refers to Roman Emperor Maximilian I, archduke of Austria. In 1489, he went on a pilgrimage to Amsterdam to visit a sacred shrine to seek a cure. Later, he granted the city the right to use the Imperial Crown in its coat of arms. You can still see the blue Imperial Crown of Austria of Maximillian I on top of the highest church tower of the city, the Protestant church Westerkerk (between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht).
Postcard Royal Palace Amsterdam
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam has played an important role in the country’s history. The monumental building was originally designed as a town hall. In 1648, architect Jacob van Campen convinced the city’s mayors with a grand design in a Dutch classicist style: classical forms and tight symmetry combined with ornamental details from the Greek and Roman traditions. He believed that the building should reflect divine creation, ‘a miniature universe of symmetry and perfection’. The interior reflected the power and prestige of Amsterdam. The municipal building became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon in 1806, and later of the Dutch Royal House. Today, the Royal Palace is the established venue for state and royal ceremonies. When it is not being used in an official capacity, the Royal Palace is a museum and open to the public.