Thinking about things to do in Amsterdam, one of the first things that should spring to mind is the ingenious canal system linking the Zuiderzee (South Sea), the sea-facing the harbour, to the Amstel river. The Netherlands (literally, the Low Lands) owe their name to their position: below sea level.
The construction in Medieval times of a “dam on the river Amstel” (hence the name: Amsterdam) to prevent flooding, was later upgraded and expanded to a concentric semicircular canals system. The canals were dug during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century) to accommodate a thriving and ever-flourishing trade to and from the Amsterdam port and it gave the town its present, unique look.
Called “the Venice of the North” for its waterways, Amsterdam is indeed similar to the Italian gem when it comes to bridges, which are enough of a reason to visit Amsterdam. Inevitably the canals have called for the construction of picturesque bridges to link one bank to the other. Also, canals and bridges create quite the romantic scenery.
The multitude of bicycles is nonetheless particular to the Amsterdam “landscape” – with unusually high seats and wide handlebars as they're made to fit the tallest people in Europe! – secured to the bridges railings. Find the best spot and take out your camera: the combo bikes, bridges and canals always makes for a classic photo-op to get stunning pictures.