Translation:The Netherlands and Belgium are the only countries with grachten.
I think maybe you should think of it as it is the only place (besides apparently frierichstadt, see a comment below) that have waterways that are called grachten. That in other places they are called something else./don't have the distinction between gracht and canal.
My (dutch) city use to have a lot of waterways. Sort of like Venice, it was the way of transportation (mainly of goods though, people would walk) only later most of those were filled and turned in to streets. Some only in quite recent history my mother will remember some of the streets still being canals. And well that is what we call them, canals. (Or in some cases actually vaart but besides in the names that word has become old fashioned so when refering back to them we call them canals. this street used to be a canal deze straat was vroeger een kanaal)
So not every man made waterway that goes through a city is called a gracht
After some research I think the definitions are as follows.
- A canal is a man made waterway mainly for watertransport
- A gracht is a man made waterway with brick sides and flanked with (a street with) buildings. Most commonly found in old cities and usually built with a function of defense. (Compare moat, we call that gracht aswell)
- If a gracht doesn't have brick sides but a grassy slope it is actually called a singel
Hope this clears up some confusion :)
You're right, maybe it would be a gracht inside the city if it only changed name once outside. Let's say the Canal de Brienne then, to stay in Toulouse. My point was that they exist by hundreds everywhere. It could be that the one writing the sentence only meant it as a joke, meaning that in no other place they'd use the word "gracht" itself.
"Gracht" is not an English word (my spell checker is rejecting it in this comment), hence, neither is "grachts." I think it is great that the Dutch have the ability to describe waterways more precisely than English, but that doesn't make a Dutch word English. To become English, some group of English speakers would have to use it in normal usage, but that has not happened yet. English speakers often use "hors d'oeuvres," borrowing the phrase from the French, and it is now English. The English translation of "gracht" is "canal."
If you were to ask an English-speaking visitor to Amsterdam what the 'grachtengordel' is they would call it "the canal belt", which is what the guide books call it. I only say 'the grachts' when speaking with other people with a knowledge of Dutch. Otherwise people will ask, 'what's a gracht' and I'd say 'a canal" Have never heard the expression "city canal" before.
True, there are a lot of cities with beautiful city canals, from Beijing to Mexico City, sometimes more prominent than others.
Friedrichstadt is unique for a non Dutch/Belgian city (or at least special) because the canals are actually called Grachten - because the city was built by and for Dutch immigrants.
Interesting because my initial thought when seeing that picture was, that's a canal. I would not call that a gracht (dutch native ). I guess because the edges are sloped and green and not straight and stones/bricks. And though I see houses it doesn't look like (but could be) it is ín the city, or city center. But just a waterway passing by/through.
In the US, we have city parks, state parks, regional parks, and national parks. The distinction is primarily in the jurisdiction; "urban" vs. "rural" is another typology.
City water is managed by the city authorities; it's distinct, for example, from the well water or spring water that a more isolated area might have.
City streets are within the city, but also maintained by the city authorities; presumably city canals are as well. Thus, again, "urban" vs. "rural" isn't necessarily the only applicable typology.
[US English native speaker]
I agree. City is more constrained than urban. Urban can refer to the city and its suburbs, as opposed to the countryside. We often speak of the urban/rural interface, meaning those areas where the suburbs have invaded areas bordering wild lands (national parks, forests, wilderness areas) etc, but those areas may have city water and sewer systems.
Em, and how's about Saint-Petersburg? ;-) http://www.bugbog.com/images/galleries/russia_pictures/St-Petersburg-Church-of-Blood.jpg
They don't say it's an English word, they use the Dutch word in the translation because they consider that's something typically Dutch/Flemish therefore as no translation (hence the debate in the comments on either being allowed to call it a canal or not because there's a difference...). Though I agree, it seems to me it should be translated because it's not a very known word and I don't think we can consider it as something cultural that has to keep its original name.
"In Dutch, the word gracht is used only when canals are located inside the city, while canals outside a city are called kanaal. However, Venice is an exception. In Dutch, one does not say "de grachten van Venetië" (the city-canals of Venice), but "de kanalen van Venetië" (the canals of Venice)."
Yes it is e.g. 'De Rietgracht' in Gent. See:http://ojs.ugent.be/index.php/hmgog/article/view/416/409
To me a 'gracht' is primarily a defensive work, and a 'kanaal' is primarily for transportation. Of course , the defensive function was lost and the meaning of gracht shifted a little. English has 'moat', but I wouldn't use that to refer to the kind of moat-converted-to open-sewer-with-streets-and-houses we have in NL.
Literally, gracht is something that was dug (gegraven). On old maps, you'll find "graft" instead of "gracht". I am not sure if a gracht was always meant for defense. In Amsterdam, for example, the 17th century grachten may have had transportation/fire extinguishing as their main functions. After all, they were within the city and not on the outskirts of the city (except for the outmost one).