Amsterdam's intricate canal system did not happen by accident. Through careful city planning, the canals provided aid in three key areas: immigration, defense and trade. The three main canals (Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) were used primarily for residential purposes.
Amsterdam has 165 canals. There are 165 Amsterdam canals that combine for a length of over 100 kilometers (about 60 miles). The Canal Ring became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010.