The Best Places to Take Photos in Amsterdam! A photographer's guide to Amsterdam!
Are you going to The Netherlands? Surely Amsterdam is on your list? It should be! Amsterdam is an incredibly beautiful European city, and a fabulous place to visit.
And yes, people go there for a variety of reasons, from drinking and smoking to visiting the Red Light District. Well, add another reason to the list: photography!
Do you enjoy architecture? History? Canals? Museums? Culture? Amsterdam has all this and more...so read on!
There is an incredible amount of history in Amsterdam, as well as fabulous architecture, European street scenes, and some really awesome museums. In other words, this town is about a whole lot more than just a big party. It’s great for photography.
I have been here several times, and after all the wandering I have done, I have compiled this list of the best places to take photos in Amsterdam. They are in no particular order, as I like them all and found the town fabulous for photography. I also recommend you follow my friend Michiel Buijse, who went out shooting with me one evening there. He's very talented.
So, without further delay, here is my list of the best places to take photos in Amsterdam:
1) 7 Bridges
This place is a cool intersection of a couple of canals, from which you can technically see 7 bridges in a row down one of the canals. This is located at the intersection of Keizersgracht and Reguliersgracht. I never made it here during enough light to really shoot all 7 bridges, but thought it was cool enough to add to the list, whether you see all 7 or not. Definitely worth a visit, and just a few steps from Rembrandtplein (#11 below).
2) Central Station
Well if you have been here on my blog enough, you will know that train stations in Europe are a common theme here. In fact, I would go so far as to call it an addiction. I just love them, and the facade of this one is incredible. So of course, I had to stop by for some shots (but only a few times LOL). It's also pretty awesome up on the tracks where you can photograph the trains.
This church sits on the western side of town, essentially next door to the Anne Frank House. Churches are another addiction of mine, at least in photographic terms. While this one is not incredibly ornate like many others in Europe, I found it to be quite beautiful and well worth a stop. You are probably going to visit the Anne Frank House anyways, so stop by and see this while you are there. And no, the Anne Frank House isn’t on this list, because I did not find the exterior very exciting, and honestly can’t remember the interior details from the tour I did take here a year or so ago. It's worth a visit, but it's not a great photo stop.
4) Oude Kerk
This is the “old church” as the name implies, and it is really old, racking up over 800 years at this point. That’s pretty dang old! The funny thing is that it sits smack in the middle of the Red Light District. You can literally walk out of the church and find yourself confronted with things you would never expect to find at church. But it is beautiful here, and I just loved the old wooden vaulted ceiling.
The Rijksmuseum is the Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history of the country - and it is amazing (at least the exterior). In my two visits to Amsterdam in the last year, I have not made it inside (though I did about 10 years ago - and enjoyed it immensely). So, it’s on the list because I love architecture and this place is beautiful, and worth a visit to photograph it, even if you run out of time to go inside. Be sure and also shoot in that pedestrian tunnel underneath it - it’s awesome!
6) I Amsterdam sign
I am not sure how many “I amsterdam” signs there are in Amsterdam, but I have seen two myself. I assume there are more, but maybe not. I guess it’s the city slogan, but whatever it is, it’s cool. The best known one is right behind the Rijksmuseum (which is where this photo comes from) and I also found another one at the Amsterdam Museum on Kalverstraat (which itself is worth a quick stop for a shot or two).
The Bloemenmarkt is the famous floating flower market and is definitely worth wandering through. It’s well known and easy to find, and though they do sell a lot of flowers and tulip bulbs, there are also lots of other interesting things being sold nearby in the tourist shops. Chalk this up to another fun cultural experience in a very interesting town.
This is one of the well known plazas in town, full of bars and restaurants. While a lot of people flock here, lots of other folks tend to avoid these places, since they get loud and crowded, especially at night. I tend to like checking out these places with the camera, though I don’t spend much time in them. My preference is to get there early and take some shots, since I could never stay late and outlast the crowds (I’m not much of a night owl). I just love street scenes, bars and signs, so this kind of stuff draws me in.
This is the Amsterdam version of Central Park, I think. At least, it’s the only park I know there, and it’s close to the city center and not far from the Rijksmuseum (#5 above). So technically it’s not “central” but you know what I mean. Anyways, it’s fairly expansive and since I love shooting reflections, finding this nice pond was a gift on a beautiful morning. It’s also a great place to stroll around and just enjoy the calm away from the busy-ness of the streets.
10) Magna Plaza
Ok, first things first: I really don’t like shopping. But, this place is worth a visit for photographic purposes at least (I have no idea how the shopping is, since I didn’t pay any attention to the stores). I love architecture, and this place has it in spades. When I think of the shopping plazas here in the US, they don’t even come close to something this cool looking! What are we doing wrong??
This is another plaza or town square, though quite a distance from Leidseplein which I mentioned earlier (#8 above). But once again, it offers up plenty of bars and restaurants in case you need some refreshments, and plenty of things to aim the camera at! And it’s a short walk to 7 Bridges, which is listed in #1 above.
12) Keizersgracht and Leidsegracht
Without a doubt, this was the best canal spot that I found to shoot across the whole town. Ok, I obviously didn’t see every possible canal spot, since the city is filled with canals, but I walked my arse off for several days and explored as much as I could find time for. This one was rather elusive. I had seen pics online but not a single one mentioned where it was, so that’s why I call it out specifically - to make it easier for you! Now you can walk right to it! Get the camera ready!
13) Amstelkring (Our Lord in the Attic)
Yes, you read that part about the attic correctly. This is a church hidden in the attic of a lovely old house, back when it was against the law to practice the Catholic faith publicly. Pretty cool spot!
14) Basilica of St Nicholas
This is the grande dame of Amsterdam churches it seems, and the city's major Catholic church. It's a stone's throw from Central Station, so very central and easy to get to. Check the schedule though because when I showed up the first time, service was in session and I had to come back!
15) St Francis Xavier (De Krijtberg)
This Roman Catholic church is a short walk from the Bloemenmarkt and you will see the two tall spires from a distance. Check the hours before going, as I passed a few times and couldn't get in - but obviously made it on my last attempt. Well worth the beauty here!