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From the moment the city really starts to bulge with people pouring out of every nook and cranny, the construction of the canal belt (grachten gordel) is set in motion. There was no master plan, however the west side of the belt was constructed first, starting with the Herengracht (Gentlemen's canal) in 1612. Destination: luxurious residences. Up next was the Prinsengracht (Prince's canal), the outermost canal, it's purpose was mostly cargo and trading. You will find numerous old warehouses along this canal. As soon as this project was completed, the Keizersgracht (Emperor's canal), in between the two already existing canals was labored in to existence. The reason for this canal was that the powers that be decided that a solemn lane or promenade, the idea at first, would not be feasible here because the soil that would be the result of digging the canal was a very much needed asset to heighten the housing plots. Hauling soil from somewhere else would be to expensive. Why is it that a Residence in ancient Amsterdam carries an Italian name? Well, a dutchman inherited, money from an italian uncle only if he obliged to the single condition that his uncle's family name would be honored and remembered for time to come. The incredibly rich family commissioned the architect Hendrik de Keyzer to have this residence built in 1618. Look closely, you can see the house is situated within a bend in the canal. The architect has taken this in to account within the design. Continue on the Herengracht until you reach the wide Rozengracht. Take a right and follow this road for plus or minus 200 meters (+- 656 feet) and you will find the Westerkerk at your right side.

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