Retracing The Fault in Our Stars in Amsterdam

A month ago today I returned home to Sydney, Australia from a whirlwind 26-day sojourn in Europe (you may start with Day One here). I lament that an entire month has lapsed since my last post, and in all honesty, I have been battling hard about the destination for my first post. In the end, it was my unforgettable experience in Amsterdam which topped the list.

If you followed my live feed in July, you would have heard my shock awakening to the city of (not only) canals and gables. As the scent of weed attacked my conservative senses, I realised my rookie mistake of staying tantalisingly close to central Amsterdam and a certain international drawcard. My initial ambivalence about Amsterdam aside, I remembered that it is my love for Hollywood romance The Fault in Our Stars which enticed me here in the first place. When I took a day to retrace the footsteps of Hazel and Augustus, little did I know that falling in love again would be so inevitable, and oh-so-effortless…

1. The Residence of Peter van Houten

Boasting one of the most expensive (non-waterfront) addresses in Amsterdam, the chic residences along Vondelstraat set the scene for an idyllic walking tour of the city. In fact, it is here on Vondelstraat 162 where you will find Peter van Houten’s house, where the young couple keenly awaits a meet-and-greet with Hazel’s favourite author. It is here where I started my day – one of the most memorable days of my life.

Vondelstraat, Amsterdam
Vondel Church, Amsterdam
Peter van Houten’s residence at Vondelstraat 162

2. The Rijksmuseum

A short stroll through the popular Vondelpark led me to the Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum for the arts and history centrally located in the Museum Square. In the film, the couple takes an evening stroll through the museum underpass, giddy in the sound of street music serenading their romance. Whilst street musicians may not be an everyday occurrence here, I was fortunate enough to be treated to a rare sighting and it was every bit a delight for the soul as the film portrayed.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

3. Anne Frank House

Bitter with disappointment following their disastrous meeting with Peter van Houten, his assistant kindly offers a tour of one of Amsterdam’s must-visit sites, the Anne Frank House. Arriving breathlessly at the Anne Frank room, it is here that Hazel and Augustus seal their love with a kiss. Located at Prinsengracht (Prince Canal) 263-267, the museum remains a major tourist attraction, however, due to the sensitive nature of the site, photography inside is strictly prohibited.

image1 (2)
Queues outside Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

4. Amsterdam’s Canal Belt

The Canal Belt surrounding Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighbourhood provides the backdrop for some of the most picturesque location shots in the film and helps to cement the city’s status as one of the most photogenic. Intrinsically Amsterdam, the Jordaan neighbourhood is UNESCO World Heritage listed and is never one to disappoint.

Amsterdam streetscape
Amsterdam Tulip Museum, Jordaan
Canal Belt in Jordaan, Amsterdam

5. The Iconic Bench

A walking tour of Amsterdam would be incomplete without a visit to The Bench. Positioned in front of a typical Amsterdam house on the corner of Herengracht and Leidsegraht, The Bench represents the location for the film’s most monumental scene. Revealing that he “lit up like a Christmas tree”, Hazel appears visibly crushed, before composing herself to comfort him with “I don’t think you are dying Augustus, you’ve just got a touch of cancer”. The original bench disappeared under mysterious circumstances once the film aired, but thankfully it has since been restored. Don’t expect The Bench to be unoccupied though, as many faithfuls make the pilgrimage to share in the special moment.

Love locks on The Bench in The Fault in Our Stars
The iconic bench (occupied by the ladies), as viewed from Leidsegracht

17 Comments Add yours

  1. karrispan says:

    One day I will do the same thing as you. Thanks for your inspiration.

  2. fkasara says:

    I don’t recall watching this movie, but now I want to! I’m glad you enjoyed Amsterdam! Last time I went I visited Anne Frank’s House and there was still the tree she could see from her window! I was really emotional when I saw her “bedroom” and all the things she stuck on the wall.

    1. Jolene says:

      Yes Anne frank house was a very humbling experience, thanks for sharing yours.
      I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed Amsterdam as much if not for the last day doing this film retrace. Hope you enjoy the film – get some tissues ready!

  3. Shibin Dinesh says:

    Nice clicks! Good choice for the challenge.

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed them. 🙂

  4. luckilylenny says:

    Beautiful photos, It’s a feeling of nostalgia as I have watched this and read it. It was one of the movies I mostly shed tears during the entire show!

    1. Jolene says:

      Glad you liked the film and the book Lenny, it is one of my favourites. I was quite upset when he said he lit up like a Christmas tree. Seeing the place (especially the bench) brought it all back for me. It is a surreal feeling. 🙂

  5. Beautiful and a nice transfer of your passion for the film and the city. Haven’t been there yet.

    1. Jolene says:

      Thank you Manja. I thought lovers of the film would understand the transfer. 😊

  6. Wonderful photographs.

    1. Jolene says:

      Thanks for your kind words! 🙂

  7. Len Kagami says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Although I am not a fan of romantic movie like The Fault in Our Stars, I must google it after reading your post 🙂

    1. Jolene says:

      The movie is very touching, but I know that it may not be to everyone’s taste. Thank you for following my walk. I can appreciate both the film and Amsterdam a lot more after that. 😊

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