27 June 2012

The Amsterdam Style

Amsterdam is famous not just for its canals but also for its Amsterdam Style of architecture that gives the centre a consistent and cosy feel.

I took tons of photographs but I'll be kind and share just five of my favourites here.

I love brick and there is an awful lot of it here.

It is very pretty brick too that is prevented from being oppressive by rows of neat regular windows and playful decorations above them.

A lot of the windows are shuttered and those shutters are thrown wide open to show off their bright colours. Red is most popular.

An unintended feature of the buildings is that a result of building on wooden piles below sea-level. Sometimes they move and that makes the building lean.

Nobody seems to be too concerned by this and leaning buildings are not just tolerated they are as well looked after as any other building. I guess that if they have been leaning for ages then they are not going to fall over too easily.

Occasionally some concessions are made to the leaners but that is just to fix the appearance by, for example, filling a gap between two buildings that now lean away from each other.

Dutch gables are pretty common, if not ubiquitous, so I spent a lot of time looking up as I walked around.

Actually I do that in every city as the crushing uniformity of world-brands often stops at the ground floor and the history is preserved above.

This building makes the last five because it ticks all the right boxes; it has the brick, windows, shutters and gable. And it's beautiful.

The old-fashioned lamp post in the front adds that little extra too. I am not sure if this one actually is old as they are busy replacing the old ones with new ones that look the same (purple) but have different lights.

The final building was selected for its pristine condition (though that is hardly unusual as the other pictures show) and for the decorated gables.

All this just goes to show that Amsterdam is a great place to go for people who like to stroll through cities to soak up their character and history. People like me.

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