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Street lights

Posted on May 20, 2011 by

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Amsterdam may be famous for its red lights, but when night falls, the light is far from being red. The streets are illuminated with a warm, golden light, and the lamps used for this are truly beautiful pieces of architecture; so beautiful in fact that I thought they deserved a dedicated post.

The first street lighting system was introduced in Amsterdam in 1669 and it was designed and implemented by Jan van der Heyden, who was a… painter (but don’t be fooled: he also studied mechanics).

It seems he did a very good job, the system became the city’s pride at that time and was also adopted around the country.

I don’t know what the lamps looked like back then, however today they give the city a very romantic look. Many of them are old, it is clear that their design is not contemporary; some have been restored to prolong their useful life, others only for decoration. However, they are an important part of the city’s charm. What I like most is that they are all so different. On the same street one can find a different type of lamp in front of each house, and they all spread nice reflections on the façades after nightfall. Even during daytime they are admired and very much photographed — and I can see why.

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