“Gracht” is the Dutch word for a canal. The canals in Amsterdam came to life in the early 1600s, after the city’s population grew beyond its medieval walls and city planners put together an ambitious design of concentric waterways for expansion by draining swampland. In 2010, UNESCO finally declared the waterways a World Heritage Site.
The architectural charm of a Canal House are in the intimate details rather than in grand effects. The facades were largely uniform in size and built of brick or sandstone, with large windows. The use of decorative gables and cornices, ornate doors and varying window shapes stamped the individuality of the buildings.