Eastern canal belt

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Eastern canal beltBetween Utrechtsestraat and Muidergracht and between Rembrandtsplein and Singelgracht is the area of the “Eastern canal belt” (Grachtengordel).

The great urban expansion started in the golden age with the excavation of the main canals of Amsterdam. After 1658, during the final phase of the expansion, this section was constructed between Utrechtsestraat and Amstel and finally on the eastern side of the Amstel the extension of the principal canals: the New Herengracht, New Keizersgracht and the New Prinsengracht.

Rembrandtplein and Thorbeckeplein are connected to one another. There are here apart from cinemas and cafes with patios, also nightclubs, smaller theaters and disco’s. Here too the Gay nightlife area Reguliersdwarsstraat begins.

At Rembrandtplein, on Herengracht is the Willet Holthuysen museum, a completely furnished canal house.

From Rembrandtplein Utrechtsestraat progresses south to Frederiksplein where the Nederlandse Bank is located, the central bank of the Netherlands. Utrechtsestraat is a shopping street with restaurants. For the music lover there is Concerto (new and second hand CDs). There are also fashion boutiques, design and bookstores and delicatessens. Tranquility is to be found at Amstelveld at the junction Utrechtsestraat and Prinsengracht: an open square surrounded by Caucasian wingnut trees and on the west side the timber Amstel church dating from 1670.

The west and east bank of the River Amstel are connected at this point by the Magere Brug, a drawbridge of timber painted white and also built in 1670 and then rebuilt in 1871 when it became too ‘mager’ (thin or narrow). This bridge was open to motor traffic until 2003.

The largest (Circus) Theatre of the city is on the eastern side of the River Amstel, Carré. This theatre was built in 1887 and, while originally in use only as circus theatre, was at an early stage also used for revue, light opera and vaudeville, and nowadays mainly for musicals, pop concerts, circus, music-, theatre and cabaret. The steel arches of the roof structure were designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel. Not far from Carré and also on the Amstel is the one time nursing home Amstelhof, which has been since 2004 home to the ‘Hermitage Amsterdam’, an affiliate of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Temporary exhibitions of the treasures from the depot in Sint-Petersburg occupy the 4,000 square metre exhibition area.

The Weesperstraat is a busy traffic artery flanked on both sides by large buildings. This street crosses what is otherwise a pretty quiet area of streets and canals to the east of the Amstel.

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