As sturdy as it may seem, Amsterdam is actually a city balancing on stilts. Ok so it’s not actually that precarious, but because of the swampy land the city was founded on, many of the buildings are built on piles of wood. Dams and dykes are also in place to help control the water in and around the city. Nowadays the wooden supports have been replaced with more sturdy concrete polls, but the supports are still necessary to keep the buildings from sinking into the ground.
Because wood rots and becomes flexible over time, a lot of the original buildings slant and lean against each other. It’s not uncommon to see an entire block of buildings leaning over to one side in the older parts of the city and especially along the Amstel River. Even the roads aren’t safe from the swamp. Warmoesstraat, which is one of the oldest streets in the city needs constant maintenance to keep it from slipping back into the water!
Next time you’re in Amsterdam know that the canals aren’t the only water in the city; there’s an entire swamp underneath the cobblestone streets!