Every great city has a story… Something that it is known for or that makes it unique. Amsterdam is special in that its stories never end.
Amsterdam as a Whole
This city is one of tolerance. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage in the world, and Amsterdam is known for its open-minded culture when it comes to drugs and prostitution. Yet, these freedoms are not due to hedonistic desires or greed. They are in place due to the desire of the city and government to provide access to resources and remove the stigma against those partaking in alternative lifestyles. With high taxes that serve as a safety net for those who need help, Amsterdam is a city which feels safe, inclusive, and embraces those who need a safe haven.
As an urban planner, Amsterdam is the city of dreams; cars come last behind bicycles, trams, buses, pedestrians, and even ferries. Look up a destination on your GPS and I can almost guarantee that the journey will be faster by bicycle than by car- a rare occurrence as a US resident. While Copenhagen was order and obedience, Amsterdam is a transportation system of chaos where no one is better than the other. This leads to a feeling of equality for all- no matter what your mode of transit or level of access is, you can make it in this city.
My Favorite Things
Below is a list of what my favorite things I did in Amsterdam were- many of them were stumbled upon or found by accident.
- Amsterdam Noord -NDSM: The Brooklyn of Amsterdam as many people call it. Warehouses full of art, young people, and street art / graffiti.
- Ride a bicycle! This city is best explored on two wheels (as most are in my opinion- but seriously if you’re going to bike ride anywhere, do it here!)
- Vondelpark: Just wander and lay on the grass- this park is unreal.
- Doubletree Sky Bar: These views cannot be beat!
- De Pijp: Where I called home for my week in Amsterdam. This part of the city is much more “homey” in my opinion and is hip and fun at the same time.
- Troost: Our favorite brewery in the De Pijp area with amazing local beers and a great atmosphere!
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ: AKA the brewery under the windmill! An Amsterdam / Holland must-see.
- Van Gogh Museum: Overall just a beautiful and tragic story, and the art is unbeatable.
- Food Hallen: A food market similar to Chelsea Market with art exhibits, bike rentals, etc.
- This city is absolutely breathtaking and has something for everyone. The best tip anyone could give is to truly just wander and find the Amsterdam that suits you.