The Singel (Dutch: het Singel) is the Amsterdam canal which flows from IJ to Muntplein. At Muntplein, the Singel ends in the Amstel, the famous Dutch river where Amsterdam’s name is derived from. The Singel is often confused with Singelgracht, another canal surrounding the old city center of Amsterdam.
The Singel was constructed around 1428 in order to protect the city against intruders. In 1481, the renovation of the canal started. The clay walls were replaced by stone walls. During that period, the Singel was also called Stedegracht (literal translation: citycanal).
Singel: things to do and see
The Singel is an estimated two kilometers long. This canal offers a great diversity in architecture, building styles and monuments. Not surprisingly, as many as 278 buildings are marked as monuments by the Dutch government. Which buildings are most worth visiting?
Destroyed by a fire but rapidly rebuilt
The Singel 11 was built between 1668 and 1671. You will find The Round Lutheran Church (Dutch: Ronde Lutherse Kerk) here. The Lutherans didn’t get permission to build a bigger church. That’s why they chose to construct a dome-church. In September 1822 the church was destroyed by a huge fire. Only the walls remained intact. The church was rapidly rebuilt afterwards. Till 1935, Lutherans used the church for services.
From 1975 till now, the church is being used by a Amsterdam hotel as a location for organizing gatherings and conferences.
World’s smallest house
The house with the smallest font on earth is located on Singel 7. The house only measures a meter in width, and is not much wider than its front door. In earlier days, people paid taxes according to the width of their house. That’s why many Amsterdammers (citizens of Amsterdam) chose to make their house as small as possible. It’s disappointing only the front of the house is visible, because the back of the house is said to be much bigger.
Dutch tulips in 3, 2, 1…
Do you love tulips? Make sure to visit the flower market! De Bloemenmarkt (flower market) is a marketplace located along the Singel. It already exists since 1862 and is one of the most famous Dutch flower markets. During earlier years, the flowers were transported by boat to the market. It’s not necessary anymore, but the stalls are still located on boats.
Torensluis: the widest bridge in Amsterdam?
De Torensluis, constructed in 1648, is the oldest and widest bridge in Amsterdam. At least, that’s what influential Amsterdammers tell us. Other sources state that the Muntplein-bridge is wider. Why is Torensluis so wide? That’s because during the Middle Ages, the Jan Roodenpoortstoren was situated here. When they took this tower down in 1829, the available space was used for expanding the bridge. Torensluis is a nice location for a drink or lunch, for example at Villa Zeezicht or Café van Zuylen. The picture below shows you Torensluis with the statue of Multatuli, a famous Dutch writer.
More places worth visiting
- De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets), west of the Singel between Leidsegracht and Raadhuisstraat
- Paleis op de Dam (Royal Palace of Amsterdam), situated on Dam Square (just east of the Singel)
- Winkelcentrum Kalvertoren (shoppingcenter Kalvertoren), entrance on the Singel 457
Amsterdam Canal District Cruise
Discovering Amsterdam by boat is a nice way to get an original view of the city. The 100 Highlights Cruise also brings you to the Singel. You don’t have to book your tickets in advance. De Grachtengordel (Amsterdam Canal District) is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.