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Alkmaar Reflections ~ The Netherlands

A shot of the streets of Alkmaar with its colorful old houses and canals in the Netherlands


In 2009 I had the occasion to visit the Netherlands thanks to a friend of mine living there. She invited me to her town where I spent most of my time and visited Amsterdam only for one day.

I have to admit, my first impression of Amsterdam was not the greatest one. I was sort of unimpressed by the capital. It’s a beautiful place but I found it a little overrated after visiting many places in Europe. In fact, I really liked the little city of Alkmaar instead. This quiet city of 95,000 inhabitants located North of Amsterdam is a popular cultural destination for tourists bored of the capital.

It is famous for the popular Cheese Market that runs from April to September. It is one of only four traditional Dutch cheese markets still in existence.

As in most places in the Netherlands, Alkmaar is a very chill place to be. People seem relaxed, bikes are everywhere and windmills stand lazily under gray skies next to the canals.

A very nice place to hang out away from the crowd.


Things I love today:

The smell of old books

The taste of Kinder chocolate

The sight of pebbles

The sound of chill music from Stereomood

The feel of a relaxing lazy day


Quick Tips:

One filter that you should have is a polarizing filter. It cuts the glare from the sun, adds contrast and makes colors look richer. Polarizing filters work best when shooting with the sun on your side (90 degrees from your lens).


Are you interested in improving your photography? Would you like to have an honest opinion about your work? I have launched a new feature on Canvas of Light: FREE PHOTO CRITIQUES! Just go to this Photo Critique Page, follow the procedure and I’ll gladly share my knowledge with you and help you improve as much as I can. Enjoy!


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  • http://thefutureisred.com Leigh

    I totally agree! I love Holland and would love to live there one day, but definitely NOT in Amsterdam. We spent five days early on in our travels in Edam (also has a cheese market) and totally loved it there. That both towns are close enough to get into Amsterdam by bus should you desire is a huge plus. But we didn’t go in very often either.

    • http://www.canvas-of-light.com Daniel Nahabedian

      Yep! I liked the relaxed atmosphere in Holland too. And Alkmaar was actually one of the first cities where I thought “i could stop travelling and live here”.. second to Barcelona that is ;)

  • http://tinniewanders.com Cristine

    Cheese market!

    • http://tinniewanders.com Cristine

      Geez, pressed enter too early. Not sure how to edit my comment?!

      Love the pic! And well, cheese market!!! I wanna go there.

      • http://www.canvas-of-light.com Daniel Nahabedian

        Haha, yes I see you were very excited about the cheese market ;)

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  • http://technosyncratic.com/ Christy @ Technosyncratic

    I’m planning to visit Holland later this year, so I’ll definitely have to add Alkmaar to the list of destinations. Thanks for the recommendation. ;)

    • http://www.canvas-of-light.com Daniel Nahabedian

      That’s great! It’s best to be there from April to September so you can attend the cheese market. Have fun!

  • http://bigwillythomas.blogspot.com William

    I love your little photo tips you give with each post. It is very helpful to someone like me that loves taking pictures, but has no training.

    Thanks! and your snaps and blog are great!

    • http://www.canvas-of-light.com Daniel Nahabedian

      Thank you very much :) I hope I’ll have enough tips to share for a long time!

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