I bet you won’t find a single person in the Netherlands who does not know what this picture is….

Text: Daphne Riabokon

Is it a spider web? Is it part of Napoleon’s hat falling down? Is it a Jigsaw puzzle 2.0?

Oh, no, dear friends, what we see is a heart, the Heart. The Heart of Amsterdam. And its meridians.

As I have written before Amsterdam started as a fisherman’s village and it needed to dig canals to create some dry space in the swamps to be able to build their simple houses and start growing vegetables.

Later on as the ‘Amsterdammers’, the locals of Amsterdam, sailed the world, earned outrageous amounts of money on the backs of people far away, they needed bigger canals and started building mansions to show off their riches.

The main canals are the Herengracht (Canal of Lords), Keizersgracht (Canal of the Emperor) and the Prinsengracht (Canal of Princes). They became the gutter of the city! Litter, faeces, all went into the canals. Later we built a cleaning system – sluices that were regularly opened to let fresh water in from the IJ. Nowadays all houses and boathouses are connected to the public sewer system. The water in the canals is controlled daily and we even have an annual swim-event in the city to raise money for ALS (our queen Maxima, at the time still a princess, participated in 2012). Ice skating, when the winters were colder, boat trips, romantic pictures on one of the bridges: 100 km of multifunctional, interconnected pathways with 1500 bridges where Amsterdam’s ki is thriving. All aspects of life, forces, colours are regulated by this ingenious system.

The meridians of Amsterdam.

With the Heart in the middle, our Fire, location for, amongst others, the famous Red Light district. The Triple Heater as a helper of the heart, without form, but pure space. And all the other meridians, you all know them too well.

With all the activity in a city like Amsterdam we are thankful for the Water that is omnipresent to keep the balance. The primary Yin and Yang of Amsterdam.

*Nieuwe Kerk (possible extra venue)

*Amstelveld (with De Duif and Amstelkerk)

*Vondelpark (Vondelkerk)

Still no ticket for the congress? Order here.