The Keizersgracht – ( The Emperor’s Canal )

The Keizersgracht is the second of the three canals belonging to the Amsterdamse Grachtengordel (Amsterdam’s canal Belt). The Keizersgracht was an initiative of mayor Frans Hendrickzn Oetgens, town carpenter Hendrick Jacobsz Staets and town land-surveyor Lucas Jansz Sinck.

The Keizersgracht, named after the emperor Maximiliaan of Austria, got constructed in the year 1612 and is the widest canal of the centre of Amsterdam.

During the last extension the Keizersgracht along the eastern part of the Amstel got constructed. This last part got the name Nieuwe Keizersgracht (New Keizersgracht). Both channels belong to the district Amsterdam Centre.

Many parts of the canal have been built by Amsterdam’s construction masters Philips Vingboons and Adriaan Dortsman.

At the Keizersgracht you can find a lot of monumental buildings, for example:

  • Het Huis met de hoofden (The House with the heads), built 1622
  • De Coymanshuizen (The Coymans houses), built 1625
  • Het Huis Marseille (The house Marseille), built 1665
  • Van Raey-Huizen (Van Raey-Huizen), built 1671
  • De Hoop (The hope), built 1734

Furthermore you can see the De Rode Hoed (The Red Hat, Keizersgracht 102), the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Our Dear Mistress Church, Keizersgracht 220), the Zuid-Afrika Huis (South Africa house, Keizersgracht 141, Felix Meritis (Keizersgracht 324), the museum Van Loon (Keizersgracht 672) and the entrance of the museum Geelvinck-Hinlopen Huis.

At the Keizersgracht 529 you will find the former house of America’s second president, John Adams.