The Amstel River is perhaps the most important natural landmark the city. When perched on the Blauwbrug (Blue Bridge) you can take a photo of yourself and your companion(s), backdropped by Amstel in all its glory. Stand in the middle of the bridge with the grandiose Hermitage Museum and the gorgeous Dutch National Ballet and Opera house adjacent to you. Further in the distance you will see the iconic Magere brug (the Skinny Bridge). Really, from all perspectives, you have a great frame.
Wall Gallery, De Pijp
You’re sure to find plenty of Instagram-worthy photo ops at one of the many cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam’s vibrant De Pijp district. Looking for something more original? Head to the Wall Gallery at Frans Halsstraat 64 and snap a pic in front of the quirky wall mural there. There’s an inviting bench just in front of the mural, so let your creativity run wild!
Rembrandtplein, city centre
There's a 17th century swashbuckler in the centre of Rembrandtplein just waiting to be your photo mate. In the heart of the square, Rembrandt's famous painting 'The Night Watch' is reinterpreted with life-size sculptures. Chances are that you will encounter these bronze characters during the day, when you are enjoying the a drink on a terrace, or by night when you are going out in one of the several clubs or bars that are located on the square.
FEBO, various locations
If you're looking for a different spin on a food photo, FEBO is the place to venture. All you have to do is pop one or two euros into the machine, press a button, and you'll be treated to a piping hot, meaty treat or a cheesy, deep fried delight. It’s likely that you don’t often encounter fresh food items in vending machines (except perhaps pizza slices in Naples), making this a great sight to share with your friends from around the globe.
Brouwersgracht, city centre
Abundant vistas of water surrounded by traditional architecture and ancient bridges make the canal rings one of the most frequent Amsterdam views on Instagram. When positioned on the Brouwersgracht, you can photograph three of the canals (Herengracht, Keizergracht and Prinsengracht) from one location. Once night falls, the scene is transformed by fairy lights that trace the bridges' curvature.
The NDSM Wharf is a photographer’s dream. The area has a raw, industrial feel and is home to stunning street art and graffiti. Inside the monthly IJ-Hallen flea market, you can score bags of vintage clothing for just a few euros. On the outside, you’ll find one of the area’s most-photographed pieces of street art, whose wise words seem to enjoy mass appeal.
Groenburgwal, city centre
Follow these instructions for a breathtaking shot: 1) Walk along Staalstraat 2) cross an old wooden draw-bridge over the Groenburgwal 3) look north, and align the tower of the Zuiderkerk (the South Church) as your focal point. French impressionist painter Claude Monet captured this very scene in his work, 'The Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam (Looking up the Groenburgwal)' in 1874.
Seven different architectural styles all in a row: what could possibly be more eye-catching? Will you try to fit all seven into a single shot, or will you go for a detailed photo series? The Zevenlandenhuizen (‘Houses of seven countries’) were built in 1894 and are located on Roemer Visscherstraat. Each of the seven residences represents a different architectural style from one of seven different European countries.
Damrak, city centre
One of the most popular positions for a canal house shot is the Damrak. This could be because it is one of the first canal views that you get when you are walking from Central Station toward Dam Square. Here, the colourful buildings appear as if they are miraculously floating atop a glassy sheet of water. Stand on Damrak proper for a straight on view, or on Prins Hendrikkade for a vantage facing south.
Eye Film Institute, Noordelijke IJ-oever
While historical architecture is often coveted in Amsterdam, the Eye Film Institute is one of the city’s modern architectural jewels. Perched on the water in Amsterdam North and visible from Central Station, this building is a great photo opportunity both from far off, and up close. The dimensions of the museum are truly exceptional, and depending on your perspective, you can detect the figure of an eye. The building itself draws you in with its unique interaction with gravity and geometry.
Huize Frankendael, Oosterpark
Romantic Frankendael Park contains two historic gardens – a period garden and a landscape garden. Looking for something a bit more informal? Check out the park’s sunbathing area or the marsh. In the middle of the park is the imposing 17th-century Huize Frankendael ('Frankendael House’), and around the corner you’ll find restaurants De Kas and Merkelbach, all of which make for great photos!
Oosterdok, Eastern Docklands
From Oosterdok, you get a great view of The National Maritime Museum and the ‘Amsterdam’; a replica of the three masted VOC, (Far East Company) ship moored in the old city harbour. On Oosterdok you can also access the stairs leading up to the roof deck of the NEMO Science Museum, which gives you a bit of elevation, and a wider view of Amsterdam.
Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Eastern Docklands
This is the perfect place to take a pic of you and your friends enjoying locally crafted beer next to one of Amsterdam’s most famous windmills, De Gooyer. The brewery produces several organic beers that quench your thirst and tingle your palette. The brewery is located in Amsterdam East between the Lozingskanaal and the Nieuwevaart, and thanks to the height of the windmill, it's very easy to find.
Rembrandtpark, Bos en Lommer & Baarsjes
Parks generally make a great setting for photography: after all, those trees aren’t going anywhere, so you can take your time framing the perfect shot. But the Rembrandtpark isn’t just any park. Take a stroll there and you’re sure to encounter more than a few photogenic surprises. The park’s giant dog sculptures are particularly popular on Instagram. And like the trees, the sculptures aren’t going to get up and walk away, so you can take all the time you need to snap your pics!
'I amsterdam' letters, Museumplein
Many people document their arrival in the Netherlands on Instagram with a photo in front of the infamous I amsterdam letters at Schiphol airport, and even more people climb, jump and play on the letters in Museumplein. In this case, the city is quite literally your playground.
Mossel & Gin, Westerpark
No list of Instagram hotspots would be complete without some mouth-watering #instafood. Popular restaurant Mossel & Gin has been the scene for many a snap. Between the charming outdoor seating area tucked away in Westerpark and the highly Instagram-worthy gin and tonics and seafood platters, you’re sure to find inspiration here. Food photography can be a bit tricky, so this one’s for the seasoned pros!
De Hallen, Oud-west
De Hallen is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, catch a film or settle down to read a good book – but the building itself is also imminently Instagrammable. This historic former tram depot is bright and airy and is bursting with authentic period details. Go early to get a clean shot, or come later in the day to capture the bustling atmosphere.
Nelson Mandela park, Zuidoost
Formerly known as the Bijlmerpark, there’s something for photographers of all kinds here: sporting equipment and a skate park for action shots, recreation areas for lovely atmospheric photos, and a magnolia valley and garden for nature lovers. Fun fact: the gardens contain trees from around the world, representing Zuidoost residents’ countries of origin.
Botanical Gardens, Plantage
Photos of exotic plants never fail to impress on Instagram. And if it’s exotic plants you’re looking for, there’s no better place to be than Amsterdam’s botanical garden, the Hortus Botanicus. From cacti to palm trees, you’ll find plenty of captivating subject material here. Wander through the gardens and snap your favourite specimens – with 6,000 plants representing over 4,000 different species, there’s something for everyone. Or head up to the treetop walk inside the greenhouse and capture an impressive aerial shot.
Piet Parra mural, city centre
Instagram photos of Amsterdam’s city centre tend to feature the city’s iconic canals and row houses. Which makes sense – after all, the canals are amazingly photogenic. But if you venture further into the Jordaan district, you’ll encounter a highly Instagram-worthy wall mural by Piet Parra. Twelve metres high, it features a line from a poem written by a pupil at the Theo Thijssen School about the ways in which Amsterdam children play.
Follow the official I amsterdam Instaguide to the Amsterdam area. You can also tag your pics with #iamsterdam and give permission to share your posts.
Seeking even more photo ops? See our list of photographic hotspots in the city.