Lonely Planet Writer

What overcrowding? See the canals of Amsterdam looking eerily quiet

Fans of architecture and design will find the Dutch capital of Amsterdam simply irresistible. Set around an intertwining network of man-made canals, this charming city is home to a whole host of architectural styles; from Renaissance and Classical to contemporary Art Deco. The most recognisable buildings are probably the ones that line the water’s edge, as photographed here by Ukrainian-born photographer Christina Kooiker.

The city’s cultural offering is just as diverse as its architecture. Image by Christina Kooiker

Christina has been living in the Netherlands for four years now, and is just as enchanted with its surrounds as she was when she arrived. Her latest series of images perfectly captures the charm of Amsterdam’s unique aesthetic; due to space restrictions, the former merchants’ homes in her pictures were built tall and narrow, with decorative gable tops. 

Distinctive narrow buildings line Amsterdam’s canals. Image by Christina Kooiker

“I’m in love with Dutch cities and architecture, and think I’m very lucky to be here”, Christina tells Lonely Planet. “Amsterdam is so charming and cozy, especially in the evenings. It has the cutest houses, filled with tiny architectural details, which is absolutely amazing. I love the unique shape of the houses, and how old and crooked they look. Amsterdam is definitely more than just a city – it’s a state of mind!”

Christina loves the unique shape of the city’s houses. Image by Christina Kooiker

Amsterdam’s cultural offering is just as exciting; you’ll find museums and galleries with Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh originals, while the cafés that line its many winding streets are perfect for people watching. When it comes to putting together an itinerary, Christina recommends a mixture of activities. “Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk are my favourite museums”, she says. “Be sure to visit the Van Gogh Museum too, if you’re a fan. Then just explore the city along the canals. You can also take a walk in Nine Straatjes; there are lots of nice stores and cute cafés. Most importantly, don’t waste your time on something you don’t find interesting, and follow your inner guide!”