Grachten is Dutch for canals, the waterways Amsterdam is known for all over the world. The seventeenth century girdle of canals is an early example of excellent town planning. In smaller Dutch cities like Delft, Leiden and Dordrecht, water is also an essential part of the town centre. In Belgium, Bruges derives much of its attraction from the many canals and picturesque bridges. In The Hague many canals have been filled in, but the town centre is still surrounded by water.
Amsterdam's 17th century canal ring has been added to UNESCO world heritage list on July 31, 2010. Read more at Radio Netherlands Worldwide