Amsterdam is often called the “Venice of the North” due to the canals that dominate the heart of the city. Over 150 canals surround the city center, and well over 1,000 bridges provide people easy access to both sides of the canal. Unlike the canals in Venice, these canals were the result of much civic planning. Most of the construction was completed in the 1600s, that is why many consider Amsterdam a living museum of the seventeenth century.
Most of the city has very narrow lanes that are not car friendly. Many use bikes as their primary means of transportation. As one walks through the streets they will hear the constant ringing of bike bells from approaching cyclists. The bikers and walkers give the city an incredible energy and numerous tourist, like myself, are just caught up in the normal hustle and bustle of this major international city.