Monday, February 2, 2015

Amsterdam calling – An Expat’s Point of View

There is something – may be its open society, great friends, endless cycle tracks, inter connected canals, AFC Ajax, trams which passes through the narrow lanes of the city - entices me about this beautiful city. Netherlands literally means 'Low countries' or 'Lowlands’, with more than half the country at or below sea level, the Dutch are pioneers with water management. Wonder how the land is protected, it’s with the help of dikes, an engineering wonder.

My personal favorites about Amsterdam are

1.       Biking, the best way to get around: Dutch never stops biking, be it snow or rain you would encounter a Dutch dashing across the streets on the red biking track. There is a continuous network of cycle paths, clearly signposted, well maintained and well lit. This makes cycling itself convenient, pleasant, and safe. Netherlands is relatively densely populated and very flat country, which means that journey distances tend to be short. The cool climate means that one can cycle short distances without breaking into a sweat. Don’t be surprised if you see politicians, corporate leaders biking to work.

2.       World class museums: Amsterdam is home of the some of  the worlds renowned museums, it would be a big loss if you miss out any of these during one’s stay
Van Gogh Museum: Houses the world's best collection of the Van Gough’s work.
Rijksmuseum: The Netherlands' largest museum and is home to many famous works by Rembrandt.
Anne Frank House: Tells the story of the famous teenager who kept a diary while hiding from the Nazis during World War II in the house where the museum is housed.

3.       A lots of canals: The Dutch capital has more than 160 canals and over 1,250 bridges. One must take some time out on a stroll along the different canals, admiring the houseboats, row houses and architecture along the way. Netherlands are also pioneers in bridges that opens, to let boats through. I do not mind spending all day wandering along the canals, getting lost in the small streets lined with beautiful, old canal houses. They are enchanting by night, by day, even when it was raining – just make sure to watch out for the zipping bikes.

4.       Brown Cafes & numerous restaurants: While Amsterdam is better-known for its cafes that sell weeds, hash and marijuana, the city has older cafes known as brown-cafes. These are traditional Dutch bars that get their name from their brown-stained caused by all the cigarettes smoked in them over the years. They're a great place for a coffee or a beer. Like in most capital cities, the Dutch capital has a seemingly endless number of restaurants, and you get to choose from everything from Greek cuisine to Thai, Indonesian to wide varieties of steak. Something unique that you find only in the Netherlands is a chain of fast-food restaurants called Febo. The way they work is simple - you choose what you want from a host of small compartments in each restaurant, you pop in your coins into the slot and enjoy the food.

5.       A visit to a dike: if you appreciate engineering marvels you should not miss out exploring a dike, a visit to volendam, a fishing village, close to Amsterdam would perfectly fit this. A dike is generally formed with the help of bags made of polypropylene. Sand is the easiest material to fill in the bags, though any available earth or clay in the vicinity can also be used. Besides these basic materials you would also need polyethylene sheets to help to make the dike impermeable. 

Compared to London or Paris, Amsterdam is still small, but has lots to offer.

Tot Ziens  en moet u Amsterdam bezoeken
 Anoob Fasaludeen