An elegant mansion on Herengracht houses the Canal Museum, which should be an early port of call in any visit to Amsterdam. This brilliant museum shares the secrets of Amsterdam's expansion through a cleverly curated series of interactive, educational, and witty displays. First off, a sound-and-light show centers on a model of the city in medieval times; it was grim, overcrowded, and with little concession to hygiene. By the 17th century, expansion became imperative. The planning and construction of the ring of three canals around the medieval city is dealt with in a lively series of interactive displays, films, models, and holograms, while the final exhibit romps home with an all-singing, all-dancing celebration of multi-cultural Amsterdam today. You couldn't wish for a more instructive or entertaining introduction to the city and its social and cultural development.