Reflections of Leidsegracht

Early on a Sunday morning I walked a half block to view reflections in the still waters of the Leidsegracht, a small canal connecting the concentric canals ringing Amsterdam’s center.

Amsterdam canal houses are narrow with gables.

canal houses
canal houses

The narrow houses were driven by the tax that funded development of the canals. From Amsterdam Info, “That peculiar style of architecture was the result of the local tax laws in the 17th century. Property on the canalsides was scarce and valuable, taxes were paid by the width of the canalfront of the houses. The tax was high: it had to finance the big expansion project.”

Narrow houses have narrow stairs, so houses have a gable supporting a beam and hook to hoist furniture and other large objects to the upper floors. The houses on the right have neck gables, a rectangular neck with a sloping facade on each side.

The boat below hasn’t seen much love lately. Prinsengracht, where we saw the traffic jam, is on the other side of the bridge.

unused boat
unused boat

Bridges have railings, but the sides of the canal have no railings. Cars are parked between the roadway and the canal, which should reduce the number of cars driven into the canal. Bikes are everywhere, parked in bike racks or on a bridge railing.


The arches and their reflections form a pattern of ellipses.

Leidsegracht in the morning
Leidsegracht at dawn

Dawn’s a peaceful time to walk along the canal, soaking in the quiet and before breezes ripple the reflections of Leidsegracht.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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