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Ghost Nymph of the Amstel


The Achtergracht is one of the shortest canals in Amsterdam. Originally it was much longer, but since 1870 the water has come to a dead end on the Frederiksplein. What is special about the Achtergracht is that there are 13 same warehouses on the equestrian side. They are called the calendar buildings because they are named after the months of the year and the sun.
Amsterdam has always been a trading city, so the warehouse were always a part of the city. They were fully equipped to store goods as efficiently as possible. In the attic, behind the hoist beam of the warehouse, there was usually a hoisting device. That was a wall shaft with two pulling wheels, over which a pulling rope runs, a rope without end.
The stairs in a warehouse were very steep to save space. The floors were usually 2 meters high, as high as a man could reach.
There is a story going around in Amsterdam about the origin of the calendar buildings. In the evening, after a day of hard work, a boatman had properly secured his boats ashore on the Achtergracht. The next day he returned to his boats and saw that they had become loose. With great effort he was able to get them back together and went to work. That evening he secured his ships extra well. To his great anger, he saw the next day that they had been released again. Determined to catch the perpetrators, he stood guard that night, hidden along the quay. For a long time nothing happened, but at midnight his boats were suddenly full of translucent female angels. They had a lot of fun, but the boatman saw it differently. He let out a cry and jumped onto one of his ships. The creatures disappeared immediately, but he could catch one. The creature told that she was one of the ghost nymphs of the Amstel. They meant no harm to it and offered the boatman a great treasure when he let her go. He was a lot less angry and released her. Immediately a ship full of gold surfaced. From this money the barge operator had the 13 warehouses made and named them after the months of the year and one he gave the name of the nymph: Sun.

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