Amsterdam is a place I've wanted to visit for a while. I had visions of capturing the canals and windmills on my 35mm camera and printing them in the darkroom (Go to the end of this post to see the photos!). I was in Europe for a work trip around my birthday so I decided to take advantage of being close by the Netherlands and took a detour on my way home with a stop in Amsterdam. It was everything I expected and more!
First up on my trip to Amsterdam was a visit to the windmills. I took a 30-minute train ride from Amsterdam Central Station out to Zaanse Schans where the town has relocated and preserved historic windmills from 1961 - 1974. The area contains not only the windmills that you can go inside for a tour but also lots of artisan shops selling cheese, clogs and fresh-made stroopwafels. I spent around 4 hours walking around and visiting all the shops. I also took a boat ride along the canal which was perfect for capturing photos with that water in the foreground. Definitely worth the day trip if you travel to Amsterdam and have an extra day to play.
According to Wiki, there are three main canals (Heremgracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht) and over 1,500 bridges in Amsterdam. It’s been dubbed the “Venice of the North” and once there you can see why. They were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. The canals are absolutely stunning! As a photographer, I spent a lot of my time focused on capturing the canals. You can also take boat tours. There’s a hop-on-hop-off boat that you can get a 24 or 48-hour pass, or you can do a one-time tour that can also include lunch or dinner.
The famous Bloemenmarkt is something not to be missed. It’s a floating market on the canal and is the main supplier of tulip bulbs. Unfortunately, regulations don’t allow them to come into the USA so I couldn’t bring any back with me. There were a few tulip species (there are over 3000 different species!) that were allowed to be shipped to the USA but were super expensive to ship so I passed on them. I can’t even keep herbs alive so spending over $100 on bulbs that probably wouldn’t sprout for me seemed a waste of money that could go towards other things like more stroopwafels, but the market itself was impressive and made for great photos.
BICYCLES OF AMSTERDAM
Ok, I was told to watch out the bikes in Amsterdam. This was no joke! The bicycle game is strong here and is the main mode of transportation in the city. The bikes basically have the right of way and they are aggressive! Don’t get run over!
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM
There are so many things to do in Amsterdam! I also went to the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank house. I respected both venue rules of not taking photos. Both museums moved me and are worth visiting if you have the time. I didn’t go to the Heineken museum but heard it’s worth going if you like beer. There are also many markets besides the flower market. I visited Albert Cuyp market which had tons of food and artisan stalls where I had more Stroopwafels and tried the local fried Kibbeling.
BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS FROM FILM
Below are photos were taken with my Canon AE-1 35mm film camera that I’ve had since I was a teenager. This is the camera I learned photography on.
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