The whole of the Dutch coastal plain, about half of the country's extent, is criss-crossed by canals, most of which are still in use today, not only for drainage but also for shipping. Delft is part of the coastal district, much of which is below sea level, and so is served by a small canal system, like most other cities in this region.
The arrangement here is typical. A comparatively narrow canal, with vertical walls, is fronted on both sides by streets with planted rows of trees. Next comes a roadway, then a sidewalk, and finally the buildings, which form a continuous wall. Bridges are to be found every 100 or 200 meters. Delft differs from Amsterdam in that the buildings run about one story lower, but the pattern is otherwise the same, as it is throughout the lowland region.
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