If Amsterdam had to be defined in one word, the word would have to be “eccentric”. The capital of Netherlands, Amsterdam has been associated with liberal, forward thinking values since the 17th century Dutch Golden Age and over the years the city has been a magnet for the unconventional, artistic and tolerant ones. Since the late 1900s, Amsterdam has once again been on the forefront for leading the way with broad social changes on issues as diverse as recreational drugs, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.
It’s no wonder then that the city has residents from over 178 nationalities and curiously enough more bicycles than residents themselves.
Despite such a vibrant and diverse character, the urban core of Amsterdam remains decidedly intimate and is defined by a series of canals that spread out concentrically from the city centre. Crossing the canals are numerous bridges and running alongside are a series of townhouses with their distinctive brick facades and stepped gables that are characteristic of local architecture.
The city hosts dozens of museums including the Rijksmuseum, most famous for Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’, the Van Gogh Museum showcasing the master impressionist’s works and the house where Anne Frank spent two years hiding from Nazi persecutors.
Amsterdam is also home to a number of significant pieces of modern architecture that reflect Dutch society’s experimentative nature. These are most notably seen in housing developments where re-adaptations of existing buildings, innovative solutions to achieve required densities yet abide by regulatory laws and mixed-use programmes have given rise to bold architectural developments.
Text And Photos By Kunal Bhatia