#230. 10 Amsterdam photos you might not have expected ?

By pascaljappy | Travel Photography

May 22

So, windmills! You can’t have been expecting that for Amsterdam photos, right ?

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Could this be any more Dutch ? (c) Pascal Jappy

OK, jut kidding with this one. But most people traveling to Holland to photograph its beautiful capital do so with leafy canals, houseboats and tall, narrow red brick houses in mind.

And while there’s certainly an abundance of that around, as described in my previous post on “traditional” Amsterdam, it would be a shame to fly home ignoring the other side of the coin.

And, no, I am not referring to pot-smoking aliens, either …

An alien smoking cannabis in Amsterdam with a rasta friend.

– Man, I’m never going back to Roswell.
– Doobie ridiculous, mon’

Although, there is some of that going on as well.

On with the promised Amsterdam photos !

So, what I’m really referring to is the Modern Amsterdam, built on or around water, just like the old town and which is home to stunning architecture that’s well worth adding to your list of must-sees.

So here are 10 photographs which I hope will make you want to visit this area as much as Centrum.

A wooden river boat floats past the IJ center in Amsterdam

The iceberg and the river-boat (c) Pascal Jappy

The Dutch are great navigators. Sailors at heart.

It’s very hard to find a new building that hasn’t been designed with an interplay with water in mind. The hall of justice (above and below) was inspired by floating icebergs. And while it does have a dedicated road access, the marina is just as important in the general layout.

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Palace Marina (c) Pascal Jappy

I love towns that give water a major role in their landscaping and not just a utilitarian shipping port approach.

This can be said of major capitals such as Stockholm, Sidney, Amsterdam and London. And it’s probably the single most disappointing aspect in Paris. Yes the bridges are nice and there are a couple of canals to enjoy, but the banks are not always accessible and the Seine hasn’t (yet ?) been turned into the Superstar the IJ certainly is.

A view from the Eye museum onto the Palace of Justice in Amsteram's superb modern neighbourhoods.

An eye on the palace (c) Pascal Jappy

It’s a very different feeling from London. First because architecture is more homogeneous and angular. No gherkins or shards implanted in older areas. Generational segregation rules.

As a skyline, then, Modern Amsterdam is more austere and nowhere near as appealing as the slightly apocalyptic and oh-so-lovable jumble of styles you get looking a The City from the vicinity of London Bridge.

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Angular design dominates Amsterdam modern architecture (c) Pascal Jappy

But taken individually, I do feel the modern buildings in Amsterdam easily win on architectural flair over the corporate pomp of The City.

Shiny elevator doors in a very modern lobby in Amsterdam

Off-center rubbish (c) Pascal Jappy

An ultra modern stair case in an ancient museum building in Amsterdam

Old vs News (c) Pascal Jappy

The parallel between these two great cities continues. If you’ve ever visited the British Museum, you’ll immediately see what I mean. I think it wins hands down on glass roof design, but this one is still impressive and the early morning sun draws magical patters on the old walls. It’s also one of the few examples of intermingling of ancient and recent (Concertgebouw being another). Stone  and wood meets metal and glass.

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Criss Cross (c) Pascal Jappy

But it’s really not about a competition between cities. Both are magnified but the presence of water in their heart, Amsterdam even more so than London.

The very colourful Nemo science museum in Amsterdam

Finding Nemo (c) Pascal Jappy

This is just an invitation for all to step out of Rijksmuseum and Anne Franck’s House to see that the present and the future also have a lot to say for themselves. And that, maybe, they’re at least as important as the past, however grand or tragic.

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Information avenues ? (c) Pascal Jappy

What do you think ?

A very narrow building in Western Amsterdam evokes New York's Flatiron

The Dutch Flatiron ? (c) Pascal Jappy

Bonus track. Two more captured using a long lens from the bus taking us to the airport early morning (more on this here). Superb light and different vantage points really made this worthwhile.

The eye museum from a bus make a nice farewell Amsterdam photo

Manga yes (c) Pascal Jappy

Modern buildings behind the railway line in Amsterdam on a great sunrise

Farewell Traalala (c) Pascal Jappy


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