Amsterdam’s sunsets are famous. A cityscape of water and architecture makes for breathtaking panoramas. June is about the best time to be looking out for spectacular sunsets as the coming of the Summer Solstice delivers some of the longest days of the year. Expect the sun to set at around 10pm during these weeks and slightly earlier during the remainder of the summer.
Amsterdam is positioned in the northern hemisphere geographically, which means that in the evening, the sky turns into a vibrant palette dripping with red and orange colours.
Most of Amsterdam’s characteristic bridges are excellent viewing points of the sunset, but there are a few spots that are so outstanding, they attract photographers all the time, hunting around for that perfect shot. And because no two sunsets are the same, here’s a list of those spots.
-Skinny bridge (Magere brug) – this bridge used to be so narrow that only two pedestrians could pass on it at any given time. Two sisters lived on either side of the bridge, both of them skinny, who commissioned the construction of a broader bridge in 1871. What more is there to say? Their memory lives on. And of course, with the further evolution of Amsterdam, the backdrop to the bridge has become lit up by thousands of lights. So it is no surprise that the bridge is an especially romantic spot.
-Hitch a ride on the free ferry service across the IJ river, which runs at the back of the Central Station and observe Amsterdam, Manhattan style. You will not only have a unique view of the city’s skyline but the sunsets tend to be spectacular too, when you look west. The water changes colour every few minutes, varying from stark dark reds to pale whites, inky blacks and even yellows. The clouds reflected on the surface of the water appear to be swallowed up by it from moment to moment. It is in a spot like this that you might have deep thoughts about what land really means to the Dutch.
-Head toward the Scheepvaart museum not far from the Central Station. The bridge outside this museum offers great, unobstructed views of Amsterdam’s most prominent buildings, including the St. Nicolaaskerk (St. Nicholas Church) and the monumental Central Station.
– By far the most adventurous spot to watch Amsterdam’s sunset is REM Eiland. This former oil platform once housed TV Noordzee. You could say this was the Dutch TV version of Radio Caroline, the pirate station that inspired the 2009 movie The Boat That Rocked. The pirate TV station used to illegally broadcast shows including Rin Tin Tin, Zorro and The Saint to millions of Dutch viewers. The building, which hovers high above the water, has been turned into a restaurant only in 2011. There is a great selection of beers and wine and when you visit this restaurant, you absolutely will have a unique experience you will remember for years to come. If you’re afraid of heights, get therapy; you won’t soon find similar stunning views again, not only at sunset but all day long. REM Eiland is located at Haparandadam 45-2.
Lastly, I want to share a little gem for serious photographers; a sun calculator which shows sun movement and sunlight phases during a particular point in time at a given location. It enables you to see sun positions at any specific time and discover the times for sunrise and sunset.