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Amsterdam Live
June 10, 2010 5:29 AM   Subscribe

Enjoy a live webcam (with audio!) of a busy intersection in Amsterdam.

A live view of Konginsplein, Amsterdam. Trams, bicycles, taxis and pedestrians go about their daily routines. I'd like to keep the cam running in the background just for the surprisingly soothing audio.
posted by Harry (64 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amsterdam: the city where all modes of transport are equally scary.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:40 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I found that cam last year just before I went to visit my friend in Amsterdam, and I'd watch it sometimes.
So while I was there, one night we ended up on that tram riding home, a bit drunk, and we went around that turn and I tried to see which window the camera was in. Couldn't.
posted by chococat at 5:46 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those motor scooters are pretty scary fast.
posted by smackfu at 5:50 AM on June 10, 2010


@lemoredebeaarthur: Scary is good! Good post on Hans Monderman over on Jalopnik yesterday.
posted by pjaust at 5:53 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I see a pigeon that's clearly up to no good.
posted by bwg at 5:53 AM on June 10, 2010


That is a whole lot of people for whom I have to create imaginary lives for in order to explain what they are doing... they also all need names...this is gonna keep me busy!

Strangely mesmerizing. I think that, unlike most web cams, there is SO much going on and such a neat variety of people, scooters, bikes, cars, trucks, trams....
posted by HuronBob at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's raining.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:14 AM on June 10, 2010


A little truck just went past blasting out music, with a sign advertising Roncalli... that was surreal, esp as you heard the music slowly growing before it appeared.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:21 AM on June 10, 2010


what? you guys have never seen a webcam before is it?
posted by infini at 6:40 AM on June 10, 2010


Why this is better than a normal webcam:
1) It is at a full framerate.
2) It has sound.
3) Stuff is happening on it.
4) Bikes!
posted by smackfu at 6:52 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could watch this all day. This is the window I wish my apartment had.
posted by oulipian at 7:10 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My first thoughts were:

1) Awww, Amsterdam!
2) Look at all those bikes.
3) I remember being there and all the bikes being everywhere and it was kind of scary.
4) Oh, and the trolleys, too. It was a choice between getting almost hit by bikes or by trolleys and it was all just pretty overwhelming.
5) Oh right, I was stoned.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:12 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


*wonders what a weekend in amsterdam will cost*
posted by infini at 7:15 AM on June 10, 2010


Ah, man... I wish I were in Amsterdam... eating fries with mayo.

All those bicycles and no helmets.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:16 AM on June 10, 2010


4) Oh, and the trolleys, too. It was a choice between getting almost hit by bikes or by trolleys and it was all just pretty overwhelming.

And notice how the street has a crosswalk, but the trolley path doesn't.
posted by smackfu at 7:21 AM on June 10, 2010


I admit I've never really thought about it before but the sound makes a big difference to the enjoyment. Anyone knows of any other webcams with sound worth watching?
posted by ntrifle at 7:37 AM on June 10, 2010


much less depressing than spillcam
posted by desjardins at 7:42 AM on June 10, 2010


I wish they'd put a clock on it that showed local time.

(As I write this, it's 4:45 pm in Amsterdam and 9:45 am Central US)
posted by desjardins at 7:45 AM on June 10, 2010


Holy crap, it appears that Quad bikes are legal in Amsterdam. Crazy.
posted by Brockles at 7:49 AM on June 10, 2010


Holy crap, it appears that Quad bikes are legal in Amsterdam. Crazy.

There's some place where they're not?
posted by vbfg at 7:57 AM on June 10, 2010


I love Amsterdam. If you ever find yourself there for more than a day, rent a bike. If you are even a vaguely competent cyclist it is not scary at all, people are friendly and forgiving... it is the happiest, most liberating thing in the world to be riding a bicycle to nowhere in particular in Amsterdam with a big bag of potent sticky weed in your pocket. Even in the rain.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:06 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Road legal? Seriously? The damn things are as dangerous as hell and certainly used to be banned in the UK. Some quick checking seems to show that you can modify them for road use (and helmets aren't even compulsory, which is also nuts).

Clearly things change from when I was younger, but they sure as hell haven't got any safer or more stable, so I am gobsmacked that so many places allow them on the roads. When I saw one of those police chase programmes on US TV a while ago, I initially thought they were chasing him because he was on one, not because he stole it.
posted by Brockles at 8:08 AM on June 10, 2010


Also, ever single quad I have seen (which is a lot) have had 'not for highway use' all over them. So at least a fair proportion are not designed for road use, even if they can be modified to comply.
posted by Brockles at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2010


Agreed on the sound. Another good source for background ambient sound is when there is a live press feed outdoors - often the feed will start early and you get some very nice natural sounds. I recorded the recent Obama feed in the Gulf and have about 45 minutes of birds chirping, light background chatter from the waiting press, etc.. very nice.

What I find best about this Amsterdam feed is the cars are the bottom of the heap in terms of numbers and right away - the opposite of how it normally is. More human and natural. Says a lot about the modern world and its emphasis on the machine over person. Which reminds me of the saying "the silent violence of the computer"...
posted by stbalbach at 8:13 AM on June 10, 2010


If you've got dual monitors, there's a way you can keep a flash window full-screen on one monitor while still working in another ... (flash will normally revert to the original size when you click on anything else). It's detailed over here on lifehacker. it's a matter of replacing a dll with a slightly modified one.
posted by crunchland at 8:43 AM on June 10, 2010


...oh, and, someone really needs to do some major flash-mobbing in that intersection.
posted by crunchland at 8:48 AM on June 10, 2010


Aaaah, if I had two monitors I would totally fullscreen this on one, add some curtains, a potted plant and pretend it was my actual view. suck it cubicle beige walls
posted by dabitch at 8:48 AM on June 10, 2010


A little truck just went past blasting out music, with a sign advertising Roncalli... that was surreal, esp as you heard the music slowly growing before it appeared.

They must know the cam is there. I've seen it twice in the 20 minutes I've had the window open.
posted by crunchland at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2010


Amsterdam is comfort food for me. Lovely place; great people.

Those scooters do go damn fast, though. As I commented in the bicycling thread, it's rather intimidating (and I think dangerous) to share the bike paths with them.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:05 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Amsterdam branch of Improv Everywhere needs to syndicate a sitcom on this camera. Imagine? Every Thursday Night at 8 you can pull this feed up and see new adventures of ... well, three stoned exchange students trying to do Abbot and Costello routines from memory. It's a work in progress, dammit.
posted by griphus at 9:34 AM on June 10, 2010


Those scooters do go damn fast, though. As I commented in the bicycling thread, it's rather intimidating (and I think dangerous) to share the bike paths with them.

As a ped/bicyclist/scooterist/driver, I can tell you it's pretty nerve-wracking to ride a scooter around bikes, people and cars, too. The good news is, the more nervous everyone is, the more careful and safe everyone is. Except you always get that one person who has no fear and does stupid things, but you never know what transportation mode they'll be using.
posted by davejay at 9:40 AM on June 10, 2010


I wish they'd put a clock on it that showed local time.

Upper left hand corner. It's pretty faint if you aren't in full screen.
posted by madajb at 9:41 AM on June 10, 2010


I've been trying to work out the traffic flow.
It appears the cars are supposed to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, but bikes don't have to? Is it an Idaho stop kinda deal or are the bikes just sneaking by?

Also, what are those pavement markings on the left and right side roads?
The bottom road has standard triangles, but I've never seen the other one.
posted by madajb at 9:49 AM on June 10, 2010


As a ped/bicyclist/scooterist/driver, I can tell you it's pretty nerve-wracking to ride a scooter around bikes, people and cars, too. The good news is, the more nervous everyone is, the more careful and safe everyone is. Except you always get that one person who has no fear and does stupid things, but you never know what transportation mode they'll be using.

As a ped/bicyclist/motorcyclist/driver, I have to say I'd rather see the motor scooters share the road with the cars than be lumped in with bicycles. Their movements are much more compatible with that of other motor vehicles, and I think it would be safer for all.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:54 AM on June 10, 2010


madajb: Bikes are meant to give way to pedestrians there, they just don't. It's a busy intersection and you would be stopped forever if you waited for all pedestrians to be out of the way before you continued on.

I'm not sure exactly which markings you're referring to, do you mean the kind of stripes just before the pedestrian crossing? Those are lines indicating that there's a speed bump there. On the webcam you can see the lines but not the bump.

The triangles ('sharks' teeth) indicate that traffic coming from the right has to give way.
posted by ask me please at 10:20 AM on June 10, 2010


Oh, now I see what you mean - the next set of lines further on is indicating the other side of the speed bump.
posted by ask me please at 10:21 AM on June 10, 2010


Now we know what life is like where gasoline costs about $7 USD per gallon.
posted by tetranz at 10:24 AM on June 10, 2010


They say the video stream can go up to 4Mbps during the day and they have a 1Gbps connection. Unless I'm doing my math wrong that means they are maxing out a 1Gbps pipe with just 250 viewers. And the server has just 512mb of RAM?

I would love if they would offer an audio only feed. I don't have the bandwidth for full video but it would be nice to listen to people on the street while I work in Excel hell.
posted by ChrisHartley at 10:26 AM on June 10, 2010


This cam pretty much has been running on one of my computers 24 hours a day for the past 7 or 8 years. I love hearing the tram bells and the Munt chimes from another room in the house.

Whenever I'm in Amsterdam I stand below and call my dad on my cell phone.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:44 AM on June 10, 2010


This cam, while not nearly as good, is just a few blocks away:

http://www.eyelogue.com/donniecam.html
posted by humboldt32 at 10:53 AM on June 10, 2010


ask me please

Speed bump, gotcha, thanks. So the whole pedestrian crossing is raised? From one set of squiggly lines to the other?

I kinda figured the bikes were supposed to stop, as occasionally someone does.
posted by madajb at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2010


Traffic "rules" in Europe are a lot more anarchic than America. I don't imagine that anyone has ever gotten a ticket for "hot rodding" like you might here.

By the way, that's a delicious chocolate shop with the door on the corner diagonal. And there's an Albert Heijn grocery store on the ground floor of the building the camera is in.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:06 AM on June 10, 2010


... and the coffeeshop from Ocean's 12 is just up the alley (steeg) at the top of the screen.

I could go on and on...
posted by humboldt32 at 11:15 AM on June 10, 2010


They're really into street cleaning.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:12 PM on June 10, 2010


Unless I'm doing my math wrong that means they are maxing out a 1Gbps pipe with just 250 viewers.

I would guess the stream very rarely reaches the max bandwidth they gave. Most of it is static most of the time. If you look closely enough, you can actually see the empty road update about once per second as the compression artifacts change slightly.
posted by smackfu at 1:24 PM on June 10, 2010


Not quite as interesting a scene at night, is it?
posted by crunchland at 1:45 PM on June 10, 2010


No, it's not. But I did spend some time thinking that glowy thing on the right was some sort of fire before I realized it was light reflecting off the water.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:52 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Webcams are pretty cool. I find the ambient street noise oddly relaxing. Although, I'm tempted to tune in at 2am tomorrow night to see what the night life is like in that part of Amsterdam.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:02 PM on June 10, 2010


Probably my favourite city and I always dreamed webcams would be like this.

I'm going to fall asleep with this on and hope I don't get woken by "Hash, ecstasy, cocaine".
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 6:45 PM on June 10, 2010


SurveillanceSaver accesses over 600 security CCTV cameras around the world and cycles through them via an auto-playing screensaver for OS X and Win32. No sound, but lots of electronic voyeurism potential.
posted by crunchland at 8:00 PM on June 10, 2010


oh how i miss poffertjes.

i fancied utrecht more than amsterdamned.
posted by talaitha at 8:10 PM on June 10, 2010


They're really into street cleaning.

(self link) I made a short documentary on this very subject.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:13 PM on June 10, 2010


First thing I did this morning at work was to fire this up and put it on my other monitor. Awesome.

It's given me an idea for a pretty cool website though, although it may exist already - www.openmics.com. Live audio streams from cities around the world that you can tune into and listen to. Want to hear the muezzins in Istanbul or what sunset sounds like in Wenceslas Square - tune right in!

Here's the recorded version - SoundCities.Com. I will keep looking.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:51 AM on June 11, 2010


That public urinal right in the middle of the shot -- that wasn't there yesterday, was it? And that is what it is, isn't it?
posted by crunchland at 4:41 AM on June 11, 2010


That public urinal right in the middle of the shot -- that wasn't there yesterday, was it? And that is what it is, isn't it?

Yeah, that's a Friday Night Special - they have them in London too, they drop them off from trucks with cranes on Friday mornings and pick them up on Sunday evenings. They've vastly reduced the smell of wee in doorways around Soho.

I'd imagine working on the pickup trucks is an... interesting job.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:11 AM on June 11, 2010


A fun thing to do is watch and see what things people touch after using the public urinal and not washing their hands.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:14 AM on June 11, 2010


And that is what it is, isn't it?

Or else the Master's going to be a bit pissed off, literarlly. (Deeply nerdy joke for Dr Who fans, everyone else - move along, nothing to see)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:28 AM on June 11, 2010


Yes the urinal comes on Fridays and leaves on Sunday/Monday.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:34 AM on June 11, 2010


I was just saying on Trip Advisor the other day that I'd love to work on one of those garbage can suckers. Thanks for the vid Meatbomb.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:37 AM on June 11, 2010


I checked out that website. does meatbomb know just how weird he is or should I take this to memail?
posted by infini at 2:25 PM on June 11, 2010


The weird is part of the value-added, infini.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:31 PM on June 11, 2010


*adds it to the bottomline for collection day*
posted by infini at 12:22 AM on June 12, 2010


Days later, I'm still obsessing on this funny little tableau. So perfect: cars! Trucks! Delivery vehicles! Trams! Bikes! So many people out at 2am, including now a whistler. So odd to be a third of the way around the planet and yet so connected...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:06 PM on June 15, 2010


Still watching.. :) This has done more to make me want to visit a place than a billion dollars in tourist advertising.

Sure would like to know of other cams around the world with good bandwidth, audio, scene.
posted by stbalbach at 11:24 PM on June 18, 2010


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