Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands and easily one of the coolest, most photogenic cities in Europe. (Though it’s a tough race… Clearly there’s a lot to see)
While the Dutch capital is well-known for its canals (also called Venice of the North), you’ll also find phenomenal architecture to photograph. If you’re planning to visit, give yourself enough time to really explore the city and its beautiful structures. Here are some must-see architectural highlights in Amsterdam:
This building was a former office for the oil company Shell, but it’s been recently refurbished. If you love architecture, you are sure to get a kick out of all the unique angles here. There is even a rooftop terrace/viewing platform on top of it that offers an amazing view of the whole city. It’s the perfect place to shoot — day or night.
Eye Film Museum
Right next to the Amsterdam Tower, you will find the absolutely amazing Eye Film Museum, designed by architects Roman Delugan and Elke Delugan/Meissl. The shape and patterns you’ll find on the outside of the building are impressive. The outside of the museum offers unique perspectives of the building, so be sure to take a look all the way around this architectural masterpiece.
Scheepvaart Museum (Maritime Museum)
The Dutch Maritime Museum is another one of my favorite buildings in Amsterdam. You can get into the courtyard for free. Make sure you check out one of the corridors next to the restrooms in the basement. On days when the sunlight hits the roof, it brings in some brilliant shadows that project onto the courtyard. It’s an amazing place to shoot if you like playing around with natural light and shadows.
One of the great towers in Amsterdam is the Montelbaanstoren, also called Malle Jaap. Built in 1516, the tower earned its name because the it used to spontaneously ring at different times of day. The building can be found on the corner of one of the biggest canals of the city, Oudeschans. Don’t forget to check out the Munttoren and the Zuiderkerk as well.
The place that definitely catches everyone’s attention the first time they visit Amsterdam is the Damrak. This iconic spot is located on the opposite side of the Central Station. It’s a busy place, surrounded by shops and restaurants. The well-known Red Light District is also located behind the houses (as seen in the shot). With the still water, especially during golden hour, this is definitely a great place to shoot when you visit Amsterdam. If you like night shooting, I would recommend going back here as well.
Amsterdam Canals – Singel
By far my favorite part of the canals is the Singel. These multi-layered houses are located close to Central Station and come in different shapes and sizes. I would recommend visiting this place during the blue or golden hour when the water is perfectly still so you can capture the best canal reflections.
Hopefully you’ll book a trip to Amsterdam soon! It’s a very lively city and the perfect place to take a photo trip. Public transportation is good, but because it’s such a small city, the best way to experience it is walking around and getting lost. Only then will you catch the magical details in this beautiful city.
(For more Amsterdam content, check out Chad Kirsebom’s travel story here.)