Sunday, 2 September 2007

Amsterdam impressions

I loved the wonderful city of Amsterdam so much, I could let this post go on for ever, but I'll try to keep myself under control. It's not the first time I've been there, but it was the first time as an adult and without children.

I think the best thing is to let the pictures speak for themselves. If you click on any, you will be taken to a larger version on Flickr. Some of the links are written in Dutch but as they are part of the Amsterdam Heritage site (one of the best I have come across) I have included them, partly becasue you can guess quite a lot of what they are saying, and partly because of the great illustrations.


Dam Square from our hotel bedroom window, showing the National Monument, the Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk.

Views of the carefully planned canals

canal view1

canal view2

Wonderful buildings with their variously shaped gables.

bell gable

stepped gable

Tiles in unexpected places


In doorways


In the Vijff Vlieghen restaurant cloakroom

Other historic buildings

Sint Nicolaaskerk

Sint Nicolaaskerk


The former stock exchange, the Beurs van Berlage. The clock says "Bide your time".


The Weigh House, the oldest secular building in Amsterdam, designed as a city gate and part of the mediaeval defences, now houses a café.


The Weeping Tower, the small building in front of the Sint Nicolaaskerk, was also once part of the city defences. It's now a restaurant and bar.

Although it's only a fraction, that's probably enough to show you how much there is in Amsterdam. I know I'm repeating myself, but it's a wonderful city.

We found the people wonderful too. Everywhere they were friendly and welcoming (and there must just as many tourists as there are in Paris). It was noticeable that even taxi drivers (I learnt something - they have blue number plates) were meticulous in making sure that they gave way to cyclists, and cyclists gave way to pedestrians with a smile, even when they were wandering round without a clue as to where they were.

Two questions before I finish:

Can anyone explain the unusual (to me) traffic light system?

And does anyone know the significance of this trompe d'oeuil "bridge" over one of the smaller canals?

You definitely must click on this to see what it's about :)


  1. I happen to see a TV show yesterday, visiting some gardens in Amsterdam. It looked like the area has very fertile ground, so green. It is a very beautiful city. I like your photo in your previous post, under the bridge the most.

    This makes me think of the possibilities of New Orleans.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the trip. It is a lovely city indeed. The bridge photo looks like something Spenser Tunik might have done - he's always photographing crowds of naked volunteers in cities.

  3. I so envy the Europeans and the wonderfully designed architecture. And the fact that they preserve their beauty! Awesome photos.

    Great idea for the DIRTY photo theme too. Thanks for the visit.

  4. The architecture is splendid and so are your phtotos of all.. take care :)

  5. Elaine - I've never seen anything quite like it :)

    Hathor, yes all the area is very fertile. The Netherlands export fruit, vegetable and flowers throughout Europe. That bridge shot is from the spot where you are supposed to be able to see seven bridges at once. Looking at the largest size of the photo I think I can see six, and if I stare long enough there may be seven...

    Lapis Ruber - spot on! Although it took a while to find that actual one, in the meantime I found this picture of multi-story nudes which made me laugh!

    Hootin' Anni - we don't always do terribly well at preserving architecture. But we envy your space :)

    Thanks Shelby :)

  6. Oh, I loved this post, I got to see much more of Amsterdam than I managed to when I was there!!!!

    ...and the bridge: unforgetable!!! What was it all about I wonder...

    My post with link to photos:
    Memories of North Holland

    Of course, we were only in Amsterdam for 1 night since we were going to Haarlem too, to see the annual flower parade - a must to see!

    My post about the parade with link to photos:

    Flower power parade

    I'll link to your post as a Lifecruiser Tips in my wednesday post :-)

  7. Thanks for you Amsterdam guide. I'll bring it with me when we visit in the end of September this year.

    I agree, It's a charming city - but there is far more tourists in Paris.
    In the past years, we've gone in by train from Schipol, for some hours, waiting for our intercontinental flights. i.e we have not styade overnight since the 60's and 70's. That's a long time ago.

    You did a great post here. Thanks for that.

  8. Amsterdam was a mere hop skip and jump from where I was brought up in Northern England. Now I am in Australia so far away I regret not visiting. Posts like this really fuel my enthusiasm for doing a world trip once my chicks have flown the coop.


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