Amsterdam is probably the cutest city I have been in so far. So many canals and young men and women in bikes. Walking around the city, it really resembles a storybook town. On a walking tour through the city, our guide told us about the numerous accomplishments of The Netherlands, dating back to its status as a dominant force in global commerce. American capitalism learned its early lessons from the Dutch. Many of the factoids I learned for AP U.S. History were brought back to memory, I had forgotten that New York was once New Amsterdam, before being conquered by the British. Harlem, named after the city Haarlem, New Utrecht, which is now Brooklyn. Hearing all this gave me a newfound appreciation for The Netherland’s history.
Fun Fact: The tour guide said that the canals are half water, half bikes, because the favorite Drunkedn Dutchman’s pasttime: Throwing bikes into canals!
|It looks like a fantasy, or maybe you’re just looking at my photography skills (just kidding)|
We got to a square court where the tour guide sat down on the steps and his demeanor became serious. He told us that history, though based on factual events, is multidimensional in how it is perceived–especially when you consider who is telling it. In the Netherlands, their history is triumphed and celebrated as the Greatness of the Dutch. But many former Dutch colonies, namely South Africa, would say otherwise. To them, it was exploitation, tyranny, and violence that made the Netherlands what it is, reminding everyone that it was the Dutch that had the world’s best supply of slaves from Africa. While I enjoyed the light hearted history lesson, I appreciated the tour guide for acknowledging his country’s dark past and refusing to turn a blind eye to it. It was a dose of heartbreaking yet refreshing honesty.
|Had to get a picture with the sign.|
The permeating smell of marijuana from the coffee jobs felt like the most fitting aroma for someone passing through red light district ironically located near the church. Amsterdam just felt too cute to be named a “sin-city.” A city with colorful buildings, old architecture and cute, friendly blonde people ringing their bells whilst cycling through the narrow streets parallel to beautiful canals just looked too innocent to be riddled with live sex shows, prostitutes, and pot. Nevertheless, a dynamic city like Amsterdam is one of diversity and charm, you can do anything you want! What’s not to love about that?
|The church, ironically located next to Red Light District|