City of charming canals, elegant gabled houses, Rembrandt and van Gogh, Amsterdam is a delight to explore. Its patchwork of waterways forms about 90 islands that are connected by 1,500 bridges, a massive project that was financed by the wealth the city acquired during the Dutch Golden Age, when Holland was the wealthiest nation in the world. Prosperity poured into the country in many forms, but most famously from the Dutch East India Company, which developed trade relations with the Far East. Today, the legacy of those successful merchants lives on in the gilded manses that line Amsterdam’s canals and in the grand portraits and lush paintings that adorn the galleries of the Rijksmuseum - many of them financed by nobles of the day. Today, discovering Amsterdam is a pleasure best pursued on foot, following tranquil grachten, or canals, past gable-roofed houses, many of them built with narrow fronts and steep stairways as residents were once taxed on the width of their property. Linger over pankoeken, the classic Dutch pancake, in a city square (or splein), or take a stroopwafel to go as you window shop in the restored Jordaan District or people watch in the central Dam Square.