Amsterdam Color Study

Amsterdam Color Study

One of the things that struck me the first time I explored the streets and alleyways of Amsterdam was the signature palette of the city. Giant, glossy, black doors open up onto murky canals. Block after block of brick structures sprout from sidewalks in shades of heavy red, dirty whites, and slate greys. Doorsteps are punctuated with hearty, thick-leaved plants, deep green in color.

Orange street address on a shop / You see these orange berries in pots all over the city

It seems that many of the man-made elements in this area take a cue from nature surrounding it. Architectural details pop off buildings in the shades of local berries, building exteriors look like they were designed to compliment the mossy canal walls perfectly, and the tall, tilted houses are coated with colors plucked straight from the canal water itself - murky greys, blacks, navy, and green.

Grassy canal banks / Loaves of bread at the weekend farmers market

I thought I would snap a few pictures for you, so you could get a bit of a sense of what I'm talking about. It's quite interesting, even the cars in Amsterdam seem to lean towards the canal palette - I'm quite sure I haven't seen a yellow or red car since I've been here.

Hearty plants / Lace-lined door with mossy steps

I'm back in San Francisco tomorrow - with a couple new cookbooks and recipes in tow. There is one book in particular that I look forward to sharing - a beautiful volume from the previous chef at The Dylan here in Amsterdam.

Flower bikes / Taking pictures in Alkmaar

For new recipes & inspirations

Your Comments

February 21, 2006

Wow, Heidi, great pictures....its making me all homesick in a good way :-) Amsterdam is so lovely but can be quite murky at this time of year, when the weather is grey but I think that's part of the charm...look forward to reading about the recipes


chris Griffiths
February 21, 2006

Thank you for bringing this very cold and dark morning to life. I am looking forward to reading, making and eating the recipes you have promised us.


February 21, 2006

Even though I am not from Amsterdam (I am from The Hague) it made me a little homesick looking at your pictures.
Oh, how I wish I could go into one of these great little restaurants or bistro's and enjoy something European!
Thank you Heidi!
P.S. Did you buy cheese in Alkmaar?


February 21, 2006

thanks again for providing a "feel" of the real thing. beautiful. so much more of an idea of the area than the travel pics/sites can offer. i've really enjoyed the "trip" ;)


February 21, 2006

Thanks Heidi for taking us along on your vacation. It was so much fun. I'm anxious to hear more about the recipes and books your brought back.


February 21, 2006

Nice to see a post on what i call home for the last five years. This was precisely my impression of the city when i first set foot on this land: murky. And I still believe one has to be raised here to appreciate that fact changes with seasons. However, orange is the exception. It is the most common outlet for vibrancy in the palette of the city. It is the national colour and Amsterdam is the it is pretty much "themed" that way. As for the absence of flashiness: the Dutch are generally "proud" to be low-key, which most will explain as cultural Calvinism. I hope you enjoyed your stay and I'm definitely looking forward to your comments on your culinary experience in the Netherlands.


February 21, 2006

Those berries look like cotoneaster (not "cotton-easter," but "co-tone-e-aster").

Googled images of "cotoneaster"


February 21, 2006

Gorgeous photos, as usual! Thanks for sharing. That Dylan Cookbook is beautiful. We were just in Amsterdam a couple of weekends ago, staying at the College Hotel, and they had a copy. I didn't bring it home, but now I think that I should have. :-)


February 21, 2006

Heidi - great pictures and hope you're enjoying your holiday!
I was in Amsterdam just a few weeks ago, but totally forgot to check out the farmers' market:( Silly me..


February 21, 2006

When you said you were going to Amsterdam, I assummed you would be taking a vacation from "101 cookbooks", and that things would be dull without you, and that we would all miss you and be anxious for your return. It never occurred to me that you would share your vacation with us... what a rare, special treat. You honor us, thank you...v


February 21, 2006

Heidi...It's like I'm there! You are so descriptive in your writing. A pleasure to read your recipe AND travel posts.


February 21, 2006

Oy, this makes me homesick for Europe -- love the mixture of melancholy and charm mixed with fabulous bread. It's what keeps me going back - thanks for the reminders! Beautiful.


February 21, 2006

the orange berries are quite common in Europe - or at least in Germany as well...we used to have some in our garden when we lived there :)


February 21, 2006

Have recently had a dear little granddaughter named Ginger. I haven't been able to adjust to the name but loved the sound of your "Gateau a l'orange et au Gingermbre ' - I have baked the lovely cake and celebrated the birth of beautiful Gingermbre.


February 21, 2006

Thanks for taking us along on the trip with you! I don't think I'd be able to describe all the new sights and sounds well enough to post about them while I'm there, so good for you!


Flea Market Geek
February 22, 2006

Love the blog.


February 22, 2006

Wow, excellent photography.

I don't quite understand this site though - is it just you or is it different people all the time?


Susan Stone
February 22, 2006

The camera sees what we don't. Note the two red cars on the right hand side of the canal (near the bridge) in your beautiful photo at the beginning of this article. Overcast days make the colors pop... Thank you for sharing your trip with us!


Susan G
February 22, 2006

I think the bush with the berries is pyracantha --that's what it was called in my mother's garden. (You're in the home of cole slaw: any ideas?)


Sarah C.
February 23, 2006

Love the color study. So beautiful.
My husband is leaving for Amsterdam on Saturday for business...any restaurants you would recommend? What a great trip you must be having! I haven't been to Amsterdam since college and would love to experience it again now that my budget and palette have grown.


February 23, 2006


I liked emptying out the hotel mini bar, and then filing it with all the tasty wine and amazing beer you can find there - then loading up on different cheeses and (crappy) baguettes - for the impromptu hotel room picnic.

I'm planning on doing a list of favorite places, food, shopping and otherwise on the bulletin boards - but most likely won't have a chance to get around to it for a few days. -h


February 23, 2006

I am a photographer also, and I found the colors in Amsterdam just awesome. Your pictures are awesome. I love your website, and Amsterdam is my favorite city ever...


February 23, 2006

i love amsterdam...all the wonderful surrounding towns with daily markets....i highly reccomend that anyone vistis there, epecially if you are not into pot smoking and legalizede prostitiution.....the city allways gets a bad wrap, but it really has so many wonderful hidden treasures.


February 23, 2006

You took very nice photo :) especially the picture of the bicycle with flowers, makes me feel 'VERY' Holland :) but on the other side, the background shown some design creating by people showed the art in Holland. quite creative:)

i have been to Amsterdam, i like the town there. but i most like Eindhoven and Utrecht. but Amsterdam is a very multi culture town, lots of great view to was the first time i have been to Sex Museum. Funny! it is cheap.

i am going to move to Holland soon after i got my visa. applying visa is not so easy :( so, i hope you had enjoyed your stay in Holland because Holland is a very nice country!


February 23, 2006

Very nice pictures!


February 24, 2006

Beautiful pictures. Lovely composition. Thanks for sharing the beauty.


Three Layer Cake
February 24, 2006

I so envy your photographic ability. Your photography is beautiful. If you can imagine it, my pictures are the exact opposite of yours, always... HAHAHA. blurry, out of focus, poorly composed, horrible light, unclear subjects...I'm just a disaster, but I find the photography on this site to be so attractive I can't stay away from it!



February 24, 2006

This website is supposed to be for recipies.


February 24, 2006

Heidi, don't miss the amazing waffle like cookies with caramel/honey filling, that the Dutch have with coffee...They usually put them on top the hot coffee cup and the caramel melts...ohhh so good! They are to die for...


February 24, 2006

Thanks for the memories Heidi From the Dutch half of me.


The Pearl Onion
February 24, 2006

Gosh, between your post now and my friend's pics from a recent trip also to Amsterdam I sooo miss living abroad when going to Amsterdam was just a weekend trip! Thank you for bringing back some good memories.


February 24, 2006

Amazing pictures! I can't wait to hear more about your trip.


February 26, 2006

Lovely Photos!! I have been to Amsterdam a half a dozen times, and it occurred to me that I have never been there when it hasn't been slurky and grey, always in February or January. I am so due for another trip! Looking forward to reading more about your discoveries. Peace.


Alex Hubbs
February 26, 2006

Absolutely Amazing.
These pictures make me homesick and i;ve never been to Amsterdam


May 10, 2006

I love Amsterdam but .... i never been there, i'will go soon, that pics aree very beautiful

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