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Tags : Boating & Cruises

Time Required : An Entire Day
Most tour boats operate from early morning until late evening, with some companies offering tours throughout the night. 

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Keizersgracht, Amsterdam Overview

Emperor's Canal is a picturesque waterway, surrounded by stunning 17th-century houses. It is considered one of the city's most beautiful and tranquil areas. One can admire its historical architecture, take a leisurely stroll along its banks, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

The canal was originally constructed as a connection between the Amstel River and the harbor, making it an important trade route. Today, it's a popular destination for tourists and locals, who come to admire the charming, narrow houses with their gabled façades and pretty, arched bridges. Built by wealthy merchants and shipowners during the Dutch Golden Age, there are several historic boathouses that have been converted into quaint cafes and restaurants. 

A canal tour boat in Amsterdam is an ideal way to see the city from a different perspective. There is a wealth of options available, and a private tour can be a highly enjoyable experience exploring the city from the water and admiring its beauty and charm.

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Sightseeing at the Keizersgracht

1. House with the Heads’ (Huis met de Hoofden)


The Keizersgracht offers a great view to the visitors with canal houses and bridges, one of which is the ‘House with the Heads’ (Huis met de Hoofden). If you want to get a look of this Baroque-style structure with six heads of Roman Gods and Goddesses sticking out on the gable, look for No. 123 on Keizersgracht. 

2. Coyman's House 

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Another place to look out for is the Coymans house (Coymanshuis), built in 1625, which once belonged to Balthazar and Johannes Coymans and their family but later became the Head Office for Amnesty International.

3. Homomonument

Homomonument, Sightseeing at the Keizersgracht
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On the Keizersgracht section of the city is the remarkable ‘Homomonument’ (Gay monument) which honours the homosexual populace who died in the Nazi Concentration camps during the Holocaust. Tourists from all over the world visit this monument and leave flowers in memory of the victims.

4. Felix Meritis


The Felix Meritis (Happy through Merit) is a European centre for art, culture and science located on Keizersgracht. It was a society established in the 1770s, and since 1988, the Felix Meritis Foundation has functioned here.

5. Photography Museums - House Marseille and the Foam Photography Museum

Foam Photography Museum, Sightseeing at the Keizersgracht

House Marseille and the Foam Photography Museum are two art spaces in the city dedicated photography which are worth checking out. House Marseille (No. 401) is a historic building built in 1655 which is devoted exclusively to photography. Foam Photography Museum (No. 609) is housed in the renovated 19th century Fodor Museum.

Keizersrace or the Emperor's race at Keizersgracht

People Skating on the Frozen Keizersgracht

A fun and fascinating event to be witnessed here during winter is the 'Keizersrace' or the Emperor's race. The canals are frozen in the months of winter and tourists and locals alike gather here to skate over the frozen water. When the ice sheet is about 15 cms or thicker, the race is held. The winner of the Keizersrace is crowned as the 'Keizer (in) of Amsterdam' until the next time the event is held.

How To Reach Keizersgracht

By Tram: You can take Trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 16 or 24 to Keizersgracht

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