Waterlooplein, September 2010. With its ramshackle market stalls and no-nonsense traders, Waterlooplein is probably my favourite Amsterdam Square. While the tourists selfie themselves silly on Rembrandtplein, The Dam and The Flower Market, for me the real magic of the city lies here. I spent many a Saturday afternoon leafing through boxes of black and white movie stills and piles of dusty antiques. On the day I took this shot, a middle-aged Amsterdammer pulled up right in front of me, hopped off her bike and darted into a nearby café, leaving her bemused dog in the back basket.
Herengracht, November 2010. My first year in Amsterdam was spent living in a small apartment on Sint Willibrordusstraat, a quiet side street a short walk from the city’s fantastic Albert Cuyp Street Market. When I then got a job working for a media production company in Amsterdam North, I began cycling to work. It was a journey that took me alongside some stunning canals and several scary tram tracks, before hopping onto the ferry at the back end of Centraal Train Station. This shot was taken on at around 7:30am in the morning en route to the office. To this day I don’t think I’ve ever had a more beautiful daily commute.
The Amstel River, December 2011. It’s funny how I’d never thought of The Amstel as a particularly stunning river, certainly nothing to rival London, Budapest or Paris. Like most things, I’d always considered it to be at its best in the summer, until that is I stumbled upon this gorgeous sight. It was an impossibly cold winter’s evening and the streets were deserted, the white-gray landscape so enveloping I actually found myself a little short of breath. It was soon after this that I began dreaming up the characters and storyline of ‘Red Light’, a screenplay set in the city.
Queen’s Day, 30th April 2012. I’ve been to plenty of city parties and festivals over the years, but nothing comes close to the unadulterated madness of Amsterdam’s Queen’s Day! Orange hats, orange wigs, orange hair, orange boats, orange flags, orange face paint, orange bottles, orange breasts (yes) and all kinds of other orangey goodness. It really is something that has to be seen to be believed. This photo shows a central canal at gridlock, a number of boats having clunked together to form one huge immovable mass of inebriation. As you can see, nobody cared.
Haarlemmerdijk, July 2013. Haarlemmerdijk is a cool street that’s so chilled out you feel like you’re experiencing real Amsterdam, away from the hordes of the great unwashed. It has an old time movie theater, an amazing bakery and a folksy fishmonger that serves up some mouthwatering Dutch Herring for those who can stomach it. But better than all that put together, perhaps even better than everything in the world put together, is the gooey glory of a pack of Stroopwafels! A waffle-biscuit creation packed with treacle/caramel, I dread to think how many of these I consumed during my four years in Amsterdam. I forget the name of the place on Haarlemmerdijk that sells these, but it can be found easily enough.