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. (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. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
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.