Support our mission
 
The lights of Amsterdam are reflected in one of the city's canals.
The lights of Amsterdam are reflected in one of the city's canals. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The lights of Amsterdam are reflected in one of the city's canals.
The lights of Amsterdam are reflected in one of the city's canals. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Amsterdam canal houses line, and are reflected in, the Prinsengracht.
Amsterdam canal houses line, and are reflected in, the Prinsengracht. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Langer Jan, or Tall John, the 279-foot tower of the Westerkerk towers over the Prinsengracht. The church was completed in 1630.
Langer Jan, or Tall John, the 279-foot tower of the Westerkerk towers over the Prinsengracht. The church was completed in 1630. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The bar and restaurant-lined Leidseplein, full on an early spring evening, is popular with tourists and locals alike.
The bar and restaurant-lined Leidseplein, full on an early spring evening, is popular with tourists and locals alike. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A Leidseplein still life. The bar- and restaurant-lined Leidseplein is popular with tourists and locals alike, and a place to enjoy free entertainment.
A Leidseplein still life. The bar- and restaurant-lined Leidseplein is popular with tourists and locals alike, and a place to enjoy free entertainment. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
An Irish singer and a Spanish guitarist entertain on the Leidseplein, one of the hot spots on an Amsterdam evening.
An Irish singer and a Spanish guitarist entertain on the Leidseplein, one of the hot spots on an Amsterdam evening. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The lights of Amsterdam are reflected in one of the city's many canals.
The lights of Amsterdam are reflected in one of the city's many canals. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
People enjoy a smoke, drink and conversation on the restaurant-lined Reguiliersdwarsstraat.
People enjoy a smoke, drink and conversation on the restaurant-lined Reguiliersdwarsstraat. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The Munttoren, or Mint Tower, in Amsterdam was built in 1672 and was once part of the city walls. Three of Amsterdam's shopping streets start here and the city's flower market is next door.
The Munttoren, or Mint Tower, in Amsterdam was built in 1672 and was once part of the city walls. Three of Amsterdam's shopping streets start here and the city's flower market is next door. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Rembrandt does not appear to be happy as he looks down on the square that carries his name. The Rembrandtsplein is, along with the Leidesplein and the red light district, one of the main spots for Amsterdam night life. The square was renovated recently and has lost some of its gritty charm.
Rembrandt does not appear to be happy as he looks down on the square that carries his name. The Rembrandtsplein is, along with the Leidesplein and the red light district, one of the main spots for Amsterdam night life. The square was renovated recently and has lost some of its gritty charm. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
Day or night, bicycles are always part of the scene in Amsterdam.
Day or night, bicycles are always part of the scene in Amsterdam. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A wax Kylie Minogue, dressed appropriately for the Amsterdam night life, and President Barack Obama welcome visitors to the city's branch of Madame Tussauds.
A wax Kylie Minogue, dressed appropriately for the Amsterdam night life, and President Barack Obama welcome visitors to the city's branch of Madame Tussauds. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A bicyclist pedals past an Amsterdam pub where patrons enjoy a drink.
A bicyclist pedals past an Amsterdam pub where patrons enjoy a drink. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A Greek tour group passes through Amsterdam's red-light district on a recent spring evening. The city's area of sin, with prostitutes standing in red-lit windows, is also an attraction for adult tourists.
A Greek tour group passes through Amsterdam's red-light district on a recent spring evening. The city's area of sin, with prostitutes standing in red-lit windows, is also an attraction for adult tourists. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The Old Sailor Pub is a popular drinking hole in Amsterdam's red-light district.
The Old Sailor Pub is a popular drinking hole in Amsterdam's red-light district. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
A flock of swans enjoys the waters of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam's red-light district.
A flock of swans enjoys the waters of the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam's red-light district. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The Sint Nicolaaskerk is reflected in the waters of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal in Amsterdam.
The Sint Nicolaaskerk is reflected in the waters of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal canal in Amsterdam. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Amsterdam at night is like two different worlds.

Known for its vibrant nightlife, the Dutch capital is also a place of calm and peace after the sun sinks into the North Sea.

On the Leidesplein, Rembrandtplein, along Reguiliersdwarsstraat, and of course in the city’s infamous red-light district, the denizens of the darkness swarm out for a night of drinks, food, fun and perhaps more.

But just around the corner, away from the bright lights and crowds, there is an almost eerie near-silence as bicyclists pedal along the brick-paved streets and reflections of lights shine in the city’s famed canals.

Dam Square is full of people by day but abandoned at night, although a wax Kylie Minogue in a window at Madame Tussauds looks like she’s ready for an Amsterdam night.

A statue of Rembrandt looks down at revelers on the square bearing his name, while people listen to musicians perform on the Leidesplein.

In the red-light district, tourists pass by the ladies of the night standing in their windows, bathed in red.

On the edge of the red lights, the dome of the Sint Nicolaaskerk is reflected in the water, as is Langer Jan elsewhere, the 279-foot tower of the Westerkerk.

Nearby, on a bridge over the Prinzengracht, two lovers hold hands and gaze at the reflections below as a group of friends silently row along the canal, the boat’s wake breaking the calm water.

— Michael Abrams

Migrated

stars and stripes videos


around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up