It is sad that for many people Amsterdam is no more than the Red Light District and the Coffeehouses. There are so many better reasons to go there.
The tremendous architecture, the largely traffic free environs, the canals, the museums, and if you get out into the countryside,
the extraordinary Dutch Landscape.
The Barltolotti House was built in about 1617 for Willem van den Heuvel, a brewer, who by gaining monopoly of Russian grain became one of the richest merchants in Amsterdam.
On inheriting a large sum of money from his Italian great-uncle, he adopted his uncle's family name, Bartolott, and changing his first name into Guillelmo.
His stylish mansion was designed by Amsterdam's most celebrated architect Hedrick de Keyser.
It is sometimes opened to the public on the second weekend in September as part of the Open Monumentendag, Heritage Open Days, scheme.
Always described as "Amsterdam's famous floating flower market", the Bloemenmarkt is surprisingly difficult to spot.
I must have been to Amsterdam three or four times before I came across it.
It is located on a series of pontoons on the southern side of the Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein. The area is touristy, complete with cheese shop, and the prices are not the cheapest. That said it is quite a spectacle and, is well worth seeking out.
De Waag (The Weigh House) is one of only three remaining gateways in the original city walls that were built between 1481-1494, the others being the lower part of the Munttorren and the Schreierstoren.
Originally known as the Sint Anthoniespoort (St Anthony's Gate) it became a weigh house in the late 16th century when the city expanded and the walls were torn down.
The upper floors were used by four guilds, and when those were dissolved in 1795, it had a variety of uses including fire station and museum. It now houses a café restaurant on the ground floor and the Waag Society upstairs.
The Huis aan de Drie Grachten (House on the Three Canals) is, as you might expect, surrounded on three sides by canals: the Grimburgwal on the south side, Oudezijds Voorburgwal to the west and Oudezijds Achterburgwal to east.
The current house is the south part of a huge double house, originally ten windows long, built around 1610 which was split in two in 1687.
Since then the southern half has been used as a brewery, an inn and a Roman Catholic Almshouse. It was extensively restored and renovated in 1909 and housed a clandestine printing press during the Second World War.
According to the, now defunct, Amsterdam Bureau of Monuments site, guided tours were at one time available on Sunday afternoons.
The base of the Munttoren (Mint Tower) was part of the western tower of one of the original city gatehouses (the Regulierspoort) built in the 1480s.
The top half of the tower was added around 1620 after the rest of the building burnt down, and in the 19th century the original guardhouse attached to the tower, which had survived the fire, was replaced by the current building.
In the 17th century the building was used as a temporary mint, hence the name.
External Links and References
Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munttoren