Ashamedly I admit I’m writing my first blog post about Amsterdam, on the anniversary of my visit. That’s right, a little over twelve months ago was the very first time that I visited Amsterdam. I flew from Australia to Amsterdam, and experienced the city for three days and nights. It was a whirlwind trip, but unforgettable none the less. Most importantly it highlighted why it’s important to make your own mind up about a place as so many of the stereotypes and rumours that I’d hear were unfounded and over exaggerated.
Ironically, I’m telling you what to expect, but in doing so, I hope that it’ll inspire you to Go. See. Do for yourself, because Amsterdam is one city that I find the most difficult to put into words. Amsterdam itself is not merely a city. It’s a feeling. A feeling of connectedness to people as a collective, yet without forsaking individuality. Whilst the city is progressive, there is a sense of an old-world celebration of life, of moments over things, evident in the togetherness of families and friendships. Families of all demographics biking to and from work…together. A beautiful and captivating city in motion, as people donned in work attire, high-heeled shoes, billowing dresses, brief cases and children’s school satchels, commute to and from work. There is a palpable authenticity to the way local life is enjoyed in Amsterdam. Canal side gatherings, shared meals at all hours of the day, and music freely created within gardens, purports the idyllic stereotype of this biking city where time and schedules seem irrelevant.
So what of those lingering rumours about drugs and the red light district? Well, yes the random whiff of marijuana would unexpectedly appear, then vaporise almost as quickly. The red light district? Well I have no idea how I missed it given how accidentally lost I often was, and granted that I chose to walk everywhere and never once caught a hint of it. In other words, if your perception of Amsterdam is simply a Sodom and Gomorrah you’re mistaken. Whilst subcultures exist, Amsterdam feels very much alive with an exuberant energy. An energy so unique, that one should experience it for yourself, or at the very least reserve judgement until you can.