Welcome to Amsterdam! We only had part of a day to explore The Netherlands capital city, so we took Amsterdam by boat. The canal tour was an excellent way to see a lot of the town and not get any little legs tired. We saw the home where Anne Frank hid and wrote her famous diary, the base of the all powerful Dutch East India Trading Company that had so much influence on world economics in the 17th century, a hundred bridges, and countless classy buildings all in a row.
The boat gave a great audio tour and a fun "pirate" pack for the kids.
This is possibly the most narrow house in all of Amsterdam, only as wide as a single small room. We learned that back in the 1600s when many of these homes were built property taxes were calculated on linear foot along the road way. So the wider the house the bigger the tax bill. Also of note are the gables sticking out of the top of nearly every building. Many of the buildings were originally warehouses and shops. They would use these booms to hoist goods to the top floor where they were sure the rising flood waters from the many canals would not spoil the merchandise. Another interesting tidbit is that most of the buildings are slightly tilted toward the canal. This had a two fold purpose. First, was to make things look bigger and grander than they actually were, and second was to keep the building out of the way of the items being hoisted to the top floor.
In a playground near the boat dock we proved that Jonah and
Eli do indeed weigh the exact same amount. Thank you see-saw.
The Dutch have amazing cheeses. We visited the cheese museum, really
just a fancy cheese store with free samples, and some interesting cheese
making artifacts,some costumes, and of course wooden shoes.
Before we left The Netherlands Maggie was able to visit The Hague temple of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it was a special moment for her and Aaron.
And for our last stop...drum roll please...Kinderdijk. To drive to where we would catch a flight in Belgium was only about three hours so we were able to take a short detour to see the famous iconic windmills at Kinderdijk. I was surprised that it wasn't a bigger area, or that there weren't more windmills. Just 19 windmills all built around the year 1740. Almost all of them are within 1 km of each other and given the flat ground it is easy to look around and take in their majesty. Some of them are still used as personal residences, and some just look awesome, but their functionality as drainage and water control has been replaced by a new pumping station. The fact that we were standing about 2 meters below sea level and there was no problem with this is a continual tribute to the Dutch people.