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Our Art Gallery is placed in Canal house, which is called so, because it is situated on one of the Amsterdam canals, that were built around the city for transportation, defense and water level regulation reasons. One of the most amazing things is that they almost didn’t change since the day they were built. Therefore we can travel in time and see the very beginning of the story.
Willem Van Houten (handsome guy in red waistcoat) was just a not-much-talented painter, who once decided to try his luck. He sold everything he had and invested (and reinvested) all the money in Dutch East India Company. Which, as we all know, was a good idea and soon he earned enough to make his dream come true. He ordered to build a beautiful house where his art gallery will be placed.
dream come true. He ordered to build a beautiful house where his art gallery will be placed.
Completed in 1675, our building has all the distinctive features of a canal house. First off all, you can notice that the house is narrow and deep. It was designed so to minimize taxes, which, at that time, depended on the width of facade.
Amsterdam (name means dam of the river Amstel) is situated on a swamp land, therefore facades were built of light bricks with large windows to reduce the weight.
Another interesting feature with windows is that they become shorter from ground floor to the top. This makes an illusion that building is higher than it actually is.
Also note some kind of a plaque just above the door. Three hundred years ago, only small percent of people could read, and plaques helped to identify name or profession of the owner
Because canal houses were built narrow, staircases were also narrow, making it a big problem to take furniture and goods up. To solve the problem hooks were placed on the top of the house, allowing to lift what you need and pass it through the window.
Now let’s move to a present time. Armin van Houten (also handsome guy, also dressed in waistcoat) is a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Willem and current owner of the Gallery. As well as previous eleven generations of Van Houten, he not only sells paintings, but also paints (Though he is the first one to date with an assistant)
Thanks to many factors, like flat terrain, narrow streets and desire to decrease car-accident deaths Amsterdam became one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. As late as 1911 local citizens owned more bikes per capita than any other European. Nowadays there are more than 400 km of bike paths and 1 200 000 bicycles (even more than citizens). About 100 000 of them are stolen each year, and therefore our bike is securely locked.
This guy definitely looks like a bad one. And it is definitely bad. Cause he definitely a professional.
P.S. The set contains only orange canal house building, and have around 1600 pieces