I’m not a city girl at heart but Amsterdam holds a special place for me. It’s the city my dad was born and grew up in. Visiting Amsterdam brings back so many good memories. Happy times when he and I would visit museums or take a canal cruise. He had the most amazing memory for the city and its rich abundant history. He knew the names of all the canals, the places of interest, dates and historical data.
November found me back in Amsterdam on a two week visit to see my mom. It’s never the best weather in The Netherlands, and November is no exception. I had taken my trusty Minolta Maxxum 7000i with me and five rolls of black and white film – Ilford HP5.
The Minolta is a great camera for a trip. Small and compact enough to fit in a purse for easy toting even fitted with a 25-85 mm lens. I have always been able to shoot really sharp images with this camera so it was the obvious choice. I did not take into account the low light conditions as I usually use this camera in Florida where it’s bright and sunny. I soon found out that even shooting at the 400 iso that the film calls for (I usually shoot this film at 200 iso), I was forced to shoot with very wide open apertures and slow speeds. This camera lens combination does not like the combination of open apertures and slow speeds. The images I’m about to share with you reflect this clearly. They’re not my usually sharp, detailed images but I still think they’re worthy of sharing.
The Amsterdam Museum used to be called the Amsterdams Historisch Museum until the name was changed in 2011. This is a museum about the history of Amsterdam. It is located in the old city orphanage between Kalverstraat and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.
The museum opened in 1926 in the Waag, a 15th-century building on Nieuwmarkt square. Since 1975 it has been located in a building that was originally constructed in 1580 as Amsterdam’s orphanage. The building was extended by Hendrick and his son Pieter de Keyser before Jacob van Campen rebuilt and renovated it in 1634. The orphanage that was originally housed here was disbanded in 1960.
“The museum exhibits various items related to the history of Amsterdam from the Middle Ages to the present time. Many of the original furnishings of the city orphanage are on display, as are artifacts relating to the Rasp house, the former house of correction in Amsterdam where the prisoners were forced to rasp wood to make sawdust. As of 2011, the museum manages 70,000 objects kept in various buildings and storage areas. Of those, approximately 25,000 have been photographed and are available to the public online.” (from Wikipedia online)
This is another of my favorite places to visit and photograph. My dad just loved museums and this was one of his all time favorites so it brings back lots of lovely memories.
A lot of Holland is well beneath sea level. Amsterdam is built on “stilts” (pile foundations). Buildings lean in different directions. It was difficult getting a straight perspective on this one as both buildings on either side of the entrance lean at different degrees.
Crooked Houses all in a Row
“Negen Straatjes (Dutch for “nine little streets”) is a neighborhood of Amsterdam, Netherlands. It consists of nine side streets of the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel in central Amsterdam which have been promoting themselves with that name since the 1990s. Together they form a sub-neighborhood within the larger western Grachtengordel (“Canal Belt”), one with many small and diverse shops and restaurants. The construction in this area goes back to the first half of the 17th century.
The Negen Straatjes is bordered on the north by the Raadhuisstraat and on the south by the Leidsegracht. In between, the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Singel are interesected by three cross streets – but each of the cross streets has different names in each of its sections between the canals.” (from Wikipedia)
“The canal system in Amsterdam is the result of conscious city planning. In the early 17th century, when immigration was at a peak, a comprehensive plan was developed that was based on four concentric half-circles of canals with their ends emerging at the IJ bay. Known as the Grachtengordel, three of the canals were mostly for residential development: the Herengracht (Gentlemen’s or more accurately Patricians’ Canal), Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal), and Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal). The fourth and outermost canal is the Singelgracht, which is often not mentioned on maps, because it is an collective name for all canals in the outer ring. The Singelgracht should not be confused with the oldest and most inner canal Singel. “
Taken along the “Singelgracht” of the many canals in Amsterdam from “Wijde Heisteeg”.
Negen Straatjes – Amsterdam
Another view of the same area. The fog had just lifted to reveal a very grey dark gloomy day. It was also exceptionally busy in the city which never seems to sleep.
Grachtengordel – Amsterdam
The canal ring (Grachtengordel) is part of the inner city of Amsterdam that runs along the four main canals namely Singel , the Herengracht , the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht . From the Brewers these canals bend more or less parallel to each other gradually to the southeast, making three gentle curves to flow into the river Amstel .
The Grachtengordel is a system of roads, embankments, bridges and houses situated on fairly identical plots of equal length and width with enclosed courtyards. Many canal houses bear witness to the prosperity during the Golden Age of the 18th century.
This area boasts many different architectural styles and facades as the buildings have been restored several times over the course of centuries. Despite advances in the 19th century bringing some very ugly building styles, the picturesque Grachtengordel remains one of the main tourist attractions of Amsterdam and was placed on the World Heritage List on August 1st of 2010.
Technical details, including camera equipment and developing can be found here:-
All images were scanned to digital from the silver gelatin prints which were produced in our darkroom.
Hope you enjoyed this brief peek into some of the famous views of Amsterdam.
Have a great weekend :)