Summer on Dam Square


The Palace on the Dam, once a stylish stock exchange.

Yesterday was the second of August. Combining job hunting, appointments and an opportunity to enjoy the city in summer conditions were reason enough to bring my camera. It so happened that at Dam Square I found inspiration. In the late afternoon summer sun the this square became a less busy. The spaces opened up and the sunlight illuminated what makes this chaotic meeting place a peculiar joy to behold.

Dam Square itself is a peculiar remnant of a settlement that grew into a city. A city built on wooden poles, dams and dikes where its inhabitants tried to survive the rivers and the sea. Dam Square or the Dam literally started out as a dam to control the water flow through the developing city. From the location of Central Station to the current square there was dam with channel that divide Amsterdam’s centre in half, west and east. On each side there where harbours and warehouses.

When you visit Amsterdam and pay attention to the architecture and infrastructure you will notice many strange things. For instance the city is compact and quite chaotic, especially the old city centre. A small map that highlights the old main buildings, water works and routes in and out of the old city tell give you many clues.

The current Dam Square is still chaotic. It is an open space, oddly shaped and it connects many people and many routes through the city. It is easy to lose yourself in the busy movements as you are constantly alerted of things happening all around you. When you slow down you notice the smaller joys of life of the people you pass by, a thing of beauty.