“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Weed. Girls. Lights. Pot. Party. Europe.
Believe it or not, Amsterdam is my favourite city in all of Europe. It’s beautiful, methodic, peaceful and buzzing with life.
Unfortunately, the only thing people associate with Amsterdam is weed and the Red Light District (sorry to burst your bubble boys but the Red Light District only take up one square block of this massive city.)
Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time in Amsterdam (it was only a 45 minute train ride from Belgium) and it is definitely one of the few places that I would consider settling down in.
SO! Why is Amsterdam my favourite city? And why in the world would you want to go there if not for the girls and the weed?! Well…
Have you ever heard of Van Gogh? You must have
, – you know the guy who cut his ear off? Tragic tale. Anywho, he is (if you can’t guess from his name) Dutch! So the Van Gogh museum is in the very heart and center of this glorious city, and is definitely one of the top ten places I urge you to visit if you plan a trip to Holland.
“Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul, as it were.”
As an artist, his pieces speak to me and they brought me a lot of joy as soon as I entered the building.
The Rijksmuseum is also an amazing museum to visit... If you can get in. All three times I have been to Amsterdam it has been closed for renovations. Forth time’s the charm?
The architecture also plays a part here… The canal houses are so tall and narrow, all different colours and shapes
, – absolutely gorgeous. There are bridges going over every single canal, and windmills inside and outside the city.
Okay, bringing you back to Grade 11 History Class here. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who had to go into hiding during World War II to avoid the Nazis. Together, with seven others, she hid in the secret annex on the Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. After almost 2 years in hiding they were discovered and deported to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only one of the eight people to survive. After her death Anne became world famous because of the diary she wrote while in hiding.
So this house is the actual house they were hiding in. It has, of course, been altered a little to house the museum, but the bookcase that hid them is the original. All of the small nooks and crannies are still there; all of the staircases
, and the tiny bedrooms.
Fair warning: you do need to book your tickets to enter the house. It’s only so big (tiny actually) and can only house so many people, so there are a limited amount of tickets available per day.
It’s a city. But not a city.
The city is gorgeous. No one can deny that. The canals, the tulips, the hundreds of bikes and boats, the beautifully tall buildings that stand so close together, but aren’t quite tall enough to get claustrophobic. And you’re not just visiting another city (let’s be honest, they all start to look the same after a while). It really doesn’t seem like a city when you’re there
, – just a very large village.
Everyone is so pleasant… and trust me, Dutch people will tell you if they’re not pleased, so it’s pretty genuine. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are: rocker, hippie, businesswoman; everyone seems to fit in the awkward little city of Amsterdam.
Another place I would urge people to go to is the flower district downtown. Tulips are one of the main exports and attractions for Holland (they actually send Canada thousands of tulips each and every year) so the flower market is a must see if you can’t make it out of the city. It’s located on the Singel Canal between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein, and is the only floating flower market in the world. That’s right, the flower stalls stand on houseboats. Absolutely glorious, and smells absolutely amazing!
The real reason why Amsterdam is my favourite city is because I feel at peace with myself and with the world when I’m there. It’s as if I have a little piece of home waiting for me every time I step off the train.