My Amsterdam

 

Amsterdam has many faces and appearances. People living or visiting Amsterdam has a unique concept of the city that varies from one to another. We have approached a group of talented people living here and writing for us occasionally to reveal what is Amsterdam for them.

Is it the local Architecture? Freedom? Coffee shops? People? Parking tickets? Art? Four seasons in a day? Museums? Tulips? Markets? Trams? Bars? Red light district? Canals? Not-so-clean streets? Yellow cheese? Beer? Cosmopolitism? Herring? Canal boats? Paying for ketchup in McDonald’s? customer service?…

Here are the results:

Dave:

Thinking of My Amsterdam, I think of the Albert-Cuyp Market.  A market located in the middle of the city where one can still catch a glimpse of the traditional commerce of the old city. A market that represents a blend of merchandise, fruits, textile, flowers, jewelries and even some simple electronics. A unique mix of aromas, locals and tourists from all over the world.

Looking at the peddlers announcing their merchandise with their typical Amsterdam accent, sometimes singing or yelling, if you will, listening to the sounds and buy few things for home or just souvenirs.

So is My Amsterdam, colorful, diversified, spectacular and inviting. A home place for locals and foreigners from all over the world, speaking many languages, although none of them perfectly and enjoying this small cosmopolitan and peaceful city.

A city that is considered to be one of Europe’s main business locations, but has this slow pace of life and not only if you smoked something.

This is my Amsterdam.

Sara Toscano:

My Amsterdam is a cosy cosmopolitan village, as improbable as a laboratorial experience: a melting pot in a tiny-town, a new Babylon that fits a map twice the size of my palm.

It's an avant-garde capital, enlightened and progressive but so petite that when the wind blows you can feel the smell of manure and when you get lost with your bicycle on the way to the Amstel Station you can bump into chickens and fresh vegetable gardens. 

My Amsterdam is a city where more than 50% of the children have a non-western background and where 174 different nationalities struggle to learn Dutch, (a language that comes 48 in the rank of spoken languages in the world, after Telugu, Sunda or Hausa). It is a city to learn and experience new cultures, offering me as many possibilities and choices as a wild menu: an Armenian friend, a Surinamese dinner in the China Town, a Jewish housemate, an Egyptian teacher, a Turkish neighborhood.

My Amsterdam is a kaleidoscopic city, where its citizens, like colored mirrors, show us continuously changing patterns but where all this miscellany is nothing but... gezellig!

 My Sunday morning drinking team :-)

Meri Simon:

My Amsterdam is every day different. It depends on the weather, if it is day or night. Sometimes my Amsterdam can be extremely nice and some other times my Amsterdam is not as nice. My Amsterdam at night is when I am sitting

in a boat and sail through the most beautiful canal of Amsterdam, the Herengracht (Gentlemen’s canal), one of the 3 main canals of Amsterdam where I am able to see the Reguliersgracht, 5 from the 7 bow-bridges in a straight line, totally illuminated, the impressive golden bend, where in the 17th century, the richest merchants lived along this part of the canal, in the patrician houses.

Curious to see the smallest canal of Amsterdam that makes me understand why Amsterdam is called the Venice from the North, and funny to see one of the smallest houses of Amsterdam...

To end up properly My Amsterdam tour a must is to sail through the Amstel river, the only natural waterway of the city, and to sail under the” skinny bridge” (magere brug) the most beautiful bridge of the city, a wooden drawbridge build in the 17th century where, if you are superstitious, better to kiss your couple or to drink a toast to the  love..This is my Amsterdam at night.

 

 

 

 

Alessandro Raschellà:                                               

If it is correct that one can only truly see oneself by stepping back and observe from the outside, objectively and from an outward perspective, then I believe the same can be applied to places. My Amsterdam is in fact, Amsterdam Noord. This part of town is not young ‘n’ cool and is not beautiful from a tourist point of view, but the fact that it’s geographically not in the core of the city makes it peculiar, in the sense that from here you can observe Amsterdam in a different way. You are not into it, and yet you can almost see it all… By walking or riding your bike along the Ij river promenade, you can clearly spot some of the city landmarks: Centraal, the belfry of the Westerkerk, the NEMO, even some of the Amstel skyscrapers to name a few. You can embrace Amsterdam before being in Amsterdam. On a sunny day, hundreds of sail boats will lively up the panorama. On top of that you will come and go to the centre by ferry and this implies a thoughtful crossing journey, that is clearly something different from hopping in a bus or a tram downtown. If you are a bit claustrophobic by the cute and tiny streets and views from the city, then come here to enjoy the wide, open air-Amsterdam you didn’t think would exist: once more observing from the outside…

Elenna Garman:Ik hou van Amsterdam!  I love this city.  My Amsterdam is a place of creativity, diversity, opportunity and stimulation.  I'm not just referring to the drug-induced stimulation that draws hoards of tourists every year to this corner of Europe.  Who needs drugs for Amsterdam to be a trip?  Just take a moment to look around and Amsterdam will delight you with her eccentricities.  This is a place that oozes charm from its slanted buildings and its plethora of canals and bicycles.  It is both a travel destination that promises to entertain and a fascinating place to call home.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Amsterdam is the bicycle culture.  You have not truly experienced Amsterdam until you partake in the primary mode of transportation here, or what my Dutch partner refers to as riding the 'steel horse'.  The benefits of commuting by bicycle include daily physical activity and an environmentally green choice, but on top of that biking is fun!  Dodging tourists on the bike paths, fearing your bike has been stolen once again to find out it has only been camouflaged in a mass of look-alikes, and learning to bike in the pouring rain may all seem like annoyances.  In my Amsterdam, they ensure that every day is interesting!

My Amsterdam is also a city that showcases diverse and talented musicians.  Music festivals abound in the Venice of the North, and Melkweg and Paradiso stand firm as pillars of the music scene.  I have seen some fantastic shows in Amsterdam, and can easily say that the main problem one faces in this city is finding a way to prioritize entertainment options!  In the mood for dancing the night away?  Jimmy Woo, The Sugar Factory, Panama and club 11 are just a few hot spots that promise both a beautiful international crowd and wicked beats.  When in doubt, head to the Vondelpark open-air stage for free summer entertainment from Thursdays through Sundays.

Amsterdam may also be synonymous with art.  With a museumkaart purchase you can visit many fabulous museums such as the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum as often as you like within 1 year.  I love to bike home along the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat and glance into the many antique shops and galleries that fill this colorful street.  The Jordaan is another great area in which one can discover unique boutiques and unusual art galleries.  One of my favorite things to do after exploring the markets and galleries is to relax in one of Amstedam's 29 parks.  Vondelpark is the place to people watch and jog, but my absolute favorite relaxation spot is the quiet and pretty Beatrixpark. 

These are just a few of the reasons I am proud to call Amsterdam my home!

About the Writer:
Elenna Garman is a 27 year old Canadian who came to Amsterdam one year ago, hot on the trail of her Dutch partner.  After completing her Sociology degree at the University of Saskatchewan she was eager for adventure, and Amsterdam lured her abroad.  Elenna loves writing, interpreting her dreams and riding her bicycle 'Mabel' around the city.
 

By Kate Sullivan:

There are countless talented people living and creating in this cosmopolitan city. My Amsterdam is about absorbing as much of cultural Amsterdam as I can.  I do this by checking out performances by ‘Het Nationale Ballet’, or the ‘Amsterdam Dance Academy’. These groups deliver amazing talent and spectacular performances. The experience is addictive. I love to visit the ‘Last Minute’ shop on the Leidseplein and spontaneously purchase a ticket to one of the many musical or theatre opportunities available.

Taking part in a dance class is another way I love to experience cultural Amsterdam. Everywhere I turn, there are opportunities to learn some kind of international dance. Whether it be Salsa, Belly dancing, Flamenco, Merengue, the Cha Cha and even ballroom dancing. Will I ever have time to try them all? Amsterdam has an overabundance of suggestions for your next dance class. My next choice is Tango lessons in preparation of the ‘Tangomagia’ festival at the end of December.

 

 

 

 

 

By various writers