Founded by King Gustavus II (Adolphus) in the early 17th century, Gothenburg grew in response to the high tolls charged by the Danes for using the narrow sound between the two countries. Being a great admirer of Dutch merchants, the king invited the Dutch to trade and live in Gothenburg; due to this immigration, their influence has greatly shaped the city.
Much of the city's clever canal system (a typical Dutch feature) is still intact, though many canals are no longer in existence. Visitors can even sail up one of the canals to the island of Liseberg which now boasts a lively amusement park. Perhaps the Dutch canal engineers did not realize during the 17th Century that they were not only designing a system of waterways for merchants and travelers, but for future revelers as well!
The delightful section known as the Old Town is defined by the central canal and still has a Dutch feel about it. Main points of interest in this area include the garrison overlooking the harbor, the town hall, the cathedral and several warehouses of the Swedish East India Company. Spacious and yet intimate, with a compact downtown area, Gothenburg is a popular place to shop and explore on one's own. Don't miss the famous Kungsportsavenyn Avenyn, a nice boulevard lined with many boutiques and outdoor eateries. The days should be warm and the people friendly, so enjoy all the city has to offer or leisurely explore the lovely outlying areas.
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