Amsterdam in the movies

Amsterdam in the movies

As far as cities can be photogenic, Amsterdam is easily a top contender in any beauty contest. The city has featured in various movies and if you look at the spots that were filmed, you will realise that those scout locators who do the groundwork for the film industry are as human as you and I.  

It does not take a whole lot of imagination to know that when you walk around in Amsterdam, there’s no scarcity of perfect backdrop material for movie shoots. This is why you will unwittingly find yourself in the very locations that have become immortalised in James Bond, in Ocean's Twelve, in Layer Cake or even the latest Hollywood film, The Fault in Our Stars.  

Perhaps The Fault in Our Stars, which only recently premiered and can be seen in movie theatres throughout Amsterdam, captures the essence of Amsterdam in the best possible way; it is, after all, an utterly romantic city. Also read our recent blog post about the bench that featured in the film, which went missing and then miraculously returned.

In case you want to check out the spots filmed in The Fault in Our Stars, let me advise you that both Peter van Houten’s home and the Oranjee restaurant were fictitious and do not exist as such. So don’t waste time trying to find those. However, Hotel Filosoof does exist -I still remember when it first opened 20 years back, god I am getting old- and it’s just around the corner from the Vondel park. Ask anyone, and you’ll find it no trouble. 

Anne Frank’s house also features in this movie. Incidentally, Anne Frank- the Whole Story which came out in 2001, also was filmed in this location. No doubt you will be more interested in the real house than in the shots which featured in the film, but it has to be said that this production which starred Ben Kingsley as Anne’s father, is probably about the best Anne Frank movie made thus far.
For people who have a thing going on for the Oceans heist movies, one really deserving spot is the coffeeshop where Ocean's Twelve was part filmed. Coffee shop De Dampkring has a firm claim on this 2004 film with its all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. It is located near the Kalverstraat in Central Amsterdam. 

Every day still, tourists sit down to a beer and a smoke and take selfies in front of the remarkably tacky furniture and the photos of the stars in action which line the walls. Other Amsterdam locations in this film include the bar of the Pulitzer Hotel on the Prinsengracht, the so-called Golden Bend of the Herengracht canal and the Koningsplein. Be sure to check them all out! Don’t get any funny ideas though, however many you’ve smoked…

This city guide would not be complete without mentioning one of the most memorable Amsterdam-featuring movies ever made – the 1971 Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. Oddly, this is as yet the only Bond movie ever to include Dutch capital. Perhaps as far as spy activity goes, tiny Holland ain’t much of a match for our grandiose Bond character.

Diamonds are Forever, with Sean Connery and Charles Gray, shows the famous Skinny Bridge (Magere Brug), where a dead body emerges from the canal. And Bond girl Tiffany Case, who was played by Jill St John, now 73 years of age, stayed at Reguliersgracht 36, another canal location, which you will probably walk past more than once during your visit to Amsterdam.

Dutch movies which are part set in Amsterdam include Turkish Delight (Turks Fruit), Amsterdamned and Black Book (Zwartboek). I can recommend all three movies which have each won various international awards. Black Book famously starrs Carice van Houten, just before she broke through in Hollywood with a very similar role in Valkyrie, co-starring with Tom Cruise.  

If you feel like being in the movies yourself, keep an eye on the Facebook page of Dutch Casting in Amsterdam, an agency frequently on the look out for movie extras in and around Amsterdam.