While the title may allude to a sinister, Imperial-esque characterization of a city known for many a questionable, extra curricular activity, I mean to speak quite literally. For anyone who’s read my blog for more than a year, you may know that I travel to Amsterdam once a year on business. Because of said business, coupled with the late time of year and Holland’s geographical placement, I rarely get to experience it in the light of day. With a +9 hour difference to tackle, and tiring hours spent working while there, my window for photographic opportunity normally falls within about an hour and a half between when I get done working, and the inevitable collapse into a jet lagged coma that prematurely greets the end of each day. Luckily, this year, this window happened to open while the weather was crisp, but dry as it gave me the ability to wander around, camera in hand to document a bit of my annual stay in what has become my home away from home.
I was excited to scrap my heavy Canon setup this trip in lieu of my OMD EM5 and micro 4/3 gear, until of course my Oly decided to fry itself requiring a little vacation of its own to the distant, mysterious land of New Jersey.
With the heavy bag in tow, I double fisted it by keeping my G3 in my pocket with the 5DII in hand. I even had the phone cam do some heavy lifting this time around. That’s about as much as I’ll say about gear, but for those interested, see the notes below each shot with camera and lens used.
I’m lucky in that by traveling for business, I get to eat out at restaurants that would otherwise seem opulent, or at the very least, unnecessarily extravagant to a budget challenged family man such as myself.
I will however, say that d’Vijff Vlieghen (you can just say Five Flies, they all speak english over there anyway) is a special place.
A restaurant housed in a building dating back to 1627, boasts many famous visitors, Rembrandt etchings and original G.H. Breitner paintings along with other historical artifacts and collectibles. It is literally like eating inside a museum, but more comfortable and photographer friendly.
With five separate houses spread out over the block, intertwined by a labyrinth of passages, doorways and ankle breaking stairways, it is truly a unique place and one I would highly suggest visiting if ever the opportunity arrises.
Thank you to my friend Alexander (click to see his flickr stream) for his suggestions. One that I was actually able to take advantage of was FOAM, a photography museum in the center of the city. I meandered through the current Diane Arbus exhibit which was wonderful, and about as much as I could handle after a rather uncharacteristically late night, closing down bars while drinking into the wee hours of the morning, getting mistaken for the singer from the Black Keys, and generally acting the tourist alongside friends and associates the night before/morning of. So, I actually did see the light of day, it was just painful to do so. One of these years I’ll learn.
I’ll always love visiting Amsterdam and do my best to take advantage of each year that I do. There are so many things to see, so many histories to relive, and rarely will you find a more photogenic backdrop within which to do so.
Amsterdam is a living, breathing amalgam of the human spectrum with something, nay, many things for everyone. If you’ve not had the pleasure of visiting this city, I’d highly suggest it.