Dutch want heritage status for Amsterdam canals
The Dutch government wants the 17th century canals at the heart of Amsterdam to be declared a UN world heritage site because of the district's cultural and historical significance, its culture ministry said on Friday.
"The structure of canals, roads, bridges and land around the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsensgracht is an international icon of urban planning that is still intact after four centuries," the culture ministry said in a statement.
The four concentric semi-circles of canals are big draws for tourists, along with Amsterdam's red light district and marijuana-selling coffee shops. Boutiques, cafes, upmarket restaurants and handsome residences line the canals.
The government plans to put its case to the world heritage committee by February 2009. The Netherlands has seven listed world heritage sites, including a 19th-century fortification in Amsterdam and the country's oldest reclaimed area.