With more canals than Venice, more bridges than Paris and 500km of cycle paths covering a relatively small area, Amsterdam is the perfect city to discover on foot. It is also undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and consequently a photographer’s paradise.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and has culture in abundance. From its roots in the 12th Century to 21st Century contemporary life, it is a city of juxtaposition. The elegant 17th century town houses which line the canals, stand alongside the seedy red light district. The majestic Rijksmueum and Van Gogh Museum, are a stones throw from the Sex Museum. And the infamous smoke-filled ‘coffee shops’ are sandwiched between stylish modern bars.
I used to be a regular visitor to Amsterdam, and not not because of its less salubrious qualities, but because my best friend lived there. Despite saying I was visiting my friend, whenever I said I going to Amsterdam, there would often be a raised eyebrow response, such is its notorious reputation.
The friend I was visiting was Carol Ann Lee the the writer and biographer of Anne Frank and Otto Frank. She lived in Amsterdam for 7 years. While I visited Carol, we would walk around the city and she would explain the research she was doing about the Anne Frank family. She would tell me about the Frank family’s life both before and after they went into hiding the during the Second World War.
I would switch to black and white film. Here are a random collection of black and white street photos from the city.
I also sketched some images of Amsterdam in my diaries.
And if like me you can’t mention Amsterdam without singing the Jacque Brel song, then here it is… as sung by the legendary Scott Walker.