It may not be as romantic as Paris, as cool as Berlin, or as beautiful as Amsterdam, but my home town Amersfoort is still worth a visit if you want to go off the beaten track.
Amersfoort, locally known as boulder city (thanks to a local legend involving a nobleman, a bet, beer, and a buried rock), is a quiet little town smack in the middle of the Netherlands. Located between the urban centers of Amsterdam and Utrecht, and the rural forest area of the Veluwe, it has everything a photography lover needs.
Medieval gate with towers and turrets? Typical Dutch canals? Check? Serpentine alleys and frivolous masonry? Check. Check. Large church tower without a church? Check. Wait — what? Yeah, our pride and glory, the Onze-lieve-vrouwe-toren (Tower of Our Lady) lost its church during the French rule in the 1800s. It was used as an ammunition depot and exploded. It left a nice square though, the perfect spot for a summer drink in one of the cafes surrounding it.
But, let’s continue our tour. It’s not all ancient stuff. We got swept up in the march of civilization, too. Modern architecture? Check. Museum of Modern Art? Check. It’s worth checking out the museum, as they have changing exhibitions with international artists that are often quite good. And you’re allowed to take pictures.
Restaurants? Bars? City beach? Check, check, and check. My favourite part of town is a bit of industrial heritage. It’s a collection of gorgeous brick factories and workplaces that used to belong to the National Railway, and now houses all kinds of creative industries. It´s the perfect place for a little photo safari.
So next time you visit the Netherlands, skip Amsterdam, Leiden, and Utrecht, and come on down to Amersfoort. I’ll be happy to show you around.