A few days ago I visited Amsterdam for the first time. My brother has been living there with his girlfriend for some time and it was about time for me to visit them… now that I’m finally settled in Zurich, it’s the perfect time to start exploring other cities and countries around me, and having relatives spread all over Europe is the perfect excuse to travel, isn’t it?

They say first impressions are the most important. Well, when I arrived to Amsterdam, it was cloudy and super cold compared to Zurich… but that didn’t impress me much (after three years in Ireland, I’m more or less used to dull weather). The first evening my brother took me to a cafe in the city center… and that’s when I fell in love with Amsterdam. The canals, the bridges with dozens of bikes chained to the handrails, the small buildings and the cute cafes and shops… they stole my heart! Amsterdam somehow reminded me of some of my favorite cities. For me, the canals reminded me of the islands in Stockholm… the cute buildings brought me memories from the Georgian buildings of Dublin… or maybe they were more like the cute little houses of the Greenwich village in New York? The stylish Amsterdamers were a bit like the Zurichers and Stockholmers…

After that first moody evening, the rest of the days roaming around the city where like a fabulous dream. The weather improved a lot and the rest of the week I enjoyed blue skies and mild temperatures, ideal conditions to do some tourism and explore the pretty streets and alleys of Amsterdam. I spent my days in Amsterdam just getting lost in the city, wandering its pretty streets, parks and canals, watching the Amsterdamers enjoying the last warm days of summer… and watching gorgeous sunsets before heading again to the city to take some night photos.

Well, here are some photos of my first days in this beautiful city! Do you think I got a good impression?? I hope you like them! 🙂

Amsterdam Nine Streets. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 57mm f/13 1/200sec. ISO200
Little alley. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 24mm f/11 1/1000sec. ISO100
Blumenmarkt. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 24mm f/11 1/15sec. ISO400
Blumenmarkt. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 35mm f/2.8 1/500sec. ISO200
Amsterdam little alley. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 45mm f/11 1/40sec. ISO200
Amsterdam little alley. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 45mm f/11 1/25sec. ISO400
Amsterdam Nine Streets. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 55mm f/11 1/250sec. ISO400
Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 50mm f/11 1/160sec. ISO320
Albert Cuyp street market. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 24mm f/11 1/80sec. ISO320
Amsterdam canal and Rijksmuseum. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 70mm f/22 1/200sec. ISO320
The Nine Streets. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 50mm f/11 1/25sec. ISO100
Amsterdam canals. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 70mm f/11 1/500sec. ISO100
Damrak houses. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 24mm f/11 1/160sec. ISO100
Damrak houses. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 24mm f/11 1/160sec. ISO100
Amsterdam at night. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 25mm f/11 5sec. ISO1000
Church of St. Nicholas. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 59mm f/22 8sec. ISO1000
Sunseet in Bosbaan. Canon EOS 5d Mark IV 26mm f/22 1/100sec. ISO125

This post is dedicated to my favourite Amsterdamer, my brother Fran, who yesterday finished another Ironman race in Mexico!! That’s a huge achievement!!!! Congratulations, little brother!!! I can’t be prouder of you!! I love you!!


  1. best of the best!!!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks Fran!!! For being an extraordinary host, a wonderful guide and the best brother a sister could wish!! 😊😘😘😘

  2. Great images. What a beautiful city. I do have some questions. What are the “nine streets” and is it camera distortion that the Damarak houses look like they are leaning, sagging, etc.? Is it just one big canal running through the city or are there more?

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Anne!! So happy you like the photos!! Amsterdam is very pretty and it was such a pleasure to wander around during a whole week! 🙂
      A lot of questions! Lets see if I can answer them!
      The Nine Streets are a small neighborhood close to the city center… small pretty traditional houses, canals, a lot of antique, vintage and trendy shops, cozy cafes and restaurants… super trendy area and very beautiful!
      About the distortion… after the first shots I though it was that!! A lot of houses looked so distorted on photos! But then my brother pointed out that some of the old houses were built that way on purpose! Apparently, the front facade of many houses was built inclined forward to facilitate moves in! So big pieces of furniture, like pianos and so on, wouldn’t hit the facade while they were moving in or out the building through the big windows (a lot of buildings have also a little hook at the top of the facade for that reason too!! To transport in or out furniture through the windows because main doors are not big!). Apparently, there are also some very old buildings that are collapsing very slowly… kind of what is happening to the Pisa Tower… So the facades (specially the windows) look a bit crooked…. I guess it’s because the canals, or the water, make the terrain a bit soft and buildings weight a lot.
      And about the number of canals…. there are a lot!!!! There are a lot encircling the old town and then, in the modern parts of the city there are also quite a few more! It makes the map of the city very interesting… but for me it was also a bit difficult to have a sense of orientation when I was in the Nine Streets area, hehehe
      I’ll post more photos from Amsterdam soon!

  3. Great photos, full of light and color! Why do you call it moody?)) Seems like a perfect September day in Amsterdam 🙂
    I love the photo of ladies and fruit – the ladies look so… continental. Not Norwegian, I mean. You are such a good photographer, Mercedes, both in nature and in the city!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Marina!!! Well, fortunately, only the first evening was dark and moody (my first impression)…. the photos are from the next days, when the sun was shining and the weather was at its best!! 🙂 I was super lucky with the weather in this trip (my brother was constantly reminding me that that weather wasn’t common in Amsterdam, hahaha). Actually, once I came back to Zurich, my brother told me that it started to rain non stop in Amsterdam… hehehe
      I have to confess that since I moved to Switzerland I hardly take photos in the city anymore… I don’t feel as comfortable taking pictures with people as I do in the mountain or with animals… I did it a lot when I lived in Dublin, and since then I feel I’ve lost a lot of confidence in the city!!! This year I’m not happy with the photos I’ve been taking in Zurich or other cities I’ve visited in Switzerland…
      Anyway, Amsterdam was a very special trip and I had to get over my discomfort and try to capture the best of the city!! Not sure if I did it, but I had a wonderful time there!! 🙂
      Yeah, they look more “continental”, hehehe. But Amsterdamers reminded me a bit of Scandinavians too… or it’s because I miss Stockholm and the Amsterdam reminded me a bit of Stockholm, hahaha

      • So it sounds like you were actually lucky with the weather! I’ve been there only once, and the weather was unpredictable. That may capture it, maybe :))
        Fun to hear that it reminds you of Stockholm and all your warm feelings about Scandinavia. I can see where it’s coming from. Perspective can miracles. You know, even Copenhagen for me gives a “continental, polished European” feeling. Coming from Oslo, that is. I am sure, if I’d come to it or Amsterdam from somewhere more south it would remind me of the North, hehe.
        And those city pics are so good! I hope that the amazing nature doesn’t steal your attention from the cities :))

  4. Looks like a interesting place to photograph Mercedes.
    Super sharp photos. I use the same setup!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil, Michael! I didn’t have a lot of time to research about Amsterdam before the trip, so the city was a complete surprise for me!! And I loved wandering around, discovering its little streets and alleys… definitely, it’s a pretty city and super photogenic!!
      I love the 24-70mm from Canon… it’s the best lens I will ever have!! Super sharp, even if it doesn’t have stabilization. Nowadays I mostly shoot with this lens and I’m super happy with it! 🙂

  5. Pavel Ciorici

    Beautiful pictures! So happy to be living in this city!

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a million, Pavel!! So happy you like the photos!! You’re lucky, Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen so far! I loved it so much that I’m already thinking on a second visit! 🙂

  6. Beautiful photos of unreal looking buildings 🙂

  7. Seeing your pictures brought back my memories from this popular city. I agree Amsterdam has its own charm.

    • mercedescatalan

      Thanks a mil! I loved Amsterdam! Somehow, it has all the features that I loved from the cities where I have lived so far. And its people is also great! I really enjoyed my week wandering in the streets of Amsterdam

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