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Reguliersgracht, said to be one of the city’s most charming canals, stretches from Rembrandtplein to the south of the city. Its name comes from a convent of regular nuns that was located on the site when the canal opened in 1664.
In the past it also housed part of the butter market, which began in Rembrandtplein and stretched downwards along the canal. In fact, this market, which filled up with merchants and shopkeepers who sold the oddest types of butters, was called the Reguliersmarkt in honour of the canal.
Reguliersgracht has a café on each corner, in which you can savour magnificent sponges, crepes or biscuits. It also has a large number of hairdressing salons with bright and colourful shop windows, a feature that seems to extend throughout the city.
You will love spending a free afternoon here, walking around and appreciating the diversity of its architecture and the calm, easy-going atmosphere, where all you come across are the omnipresent bicycles and local residents on their way home with their shopping bags. This is a place to breathe in genuine neighbourhood life, and is a long way from the great monumental canals and the areas with the main historical attractions.
The most surprising feature of the Reguliersgracht lies in wait for you on the corner with Herengracht. If you go onto the bridge over the Reguliersgracht and stand with your back to the nearby Thorbeckeplein square (the continuation of Rembrandtplein), you will see the arches of the six bridges that cross the canal from a unique perspective. Now, turn left and observe carefully. What you see is not an optical illusion: a further six bridges over the Herengracht unfurl, like a pack of cards, before your eyes. You will now see another two on the right. If you add all of these to the bridge upon which you are now standing, they come to a total of fifteen bridges.
This view is almost magical if you come here at night, when a host of bulbs illuminate the arches of the bridges to create a unique scene. Photograph it, sketch it, or simply remember it forever, because this view can only be enjoyed from here.
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