“To Travel is to Live” Says the famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
This weekend I had the opportunity to live according to HCA. I spent a solid 2 full days touring the wonderful city of Amsterdam, Netherlands. I have to admit that I have never been anywhere like Amsterdam in my life. It is such a cool and unique city; that is the only way I can describe it. The Dutch architecture makes the city feel charming and historic, yet the liberal elements of the culture make the city edgy and contemporary.
For a virtual tour of my time in Amsterdam, let’s start from the beginning!
- Canal Tour… the classic clichéd tried and true. Get a feel for the city in the best way possible. They don’t call it the Venice of the north for no reason.
- The I Amsterdam letters and iconic symbol for the city. If you’re planning to visit there, try and avoid when big tour groups are there. I had the best luck going early in the morning(not too early though…around 9am)
- Checked out the Van Gogh Museum with his largest collection—four floors of some of his most favorite works. Including Sunflowers, 1889; The bedroom, 1888; and my favorite Almond blossom, 1890.
- Quickly visited the de Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam from 1638—the Botanical Gardens of Amsterdam. It was originally a medicinal herb garden, and during the 17th and 18thcentury the Dutch East India Company ships brought exotic plants and spices to Hortus. Today there are greenhouses and an enormous diversity of plants to look at from 7 different climates.
- Day 2…the Heineken Experience: since its founding in 1864 Heineken has been an important part of Amsterdam. Also, as a side note, Heineken has a long term reputation of being sustainable in its production which is relevant to my program!
- Of course I checked out Westerkirke and The Anne Frank House. Unfortunately I could not tour either of them. Westerkirke was fully booked and the Anne Frank House was closed for Yom Kippur. It was really cool to be there though, and learn about it later in the day at the museum
- For lunch I went to what I think must be the absolute best pancake house in Holland and I assure you there are dozens. I ate at (appropriately named) The Pancake Bakery. It claims to be the most famous Dutch Pancake and omelet house in Amsterdam, situated in an historic warehouse on one of the main canals. It was absolutely delicious
- I probably could have spent a week in the Amsterdam Museumbut I got to spend about an hour. The most interesting parts for me were about the Dutch East India Company, World War II and Anne Frank, and the contemporary legalization of marijuana and prostitution within Amsterdam. I got a sense of the depth of Holland’s presence as one of the biggest influences in European history. For example, between London and Amsterdam was the first plane flight within Europe.
- I completed my journey eating at a local student diner called ‘Skek. It was another great meal, and a really awesome way to end out my time in Amsterdam!
Like I said, it was a fully packed 2 days, but I checked off everything on my bucket list and actually saw additional places in the city that I did not plan on seeing.
Unexpectedly coming back to Copenhagen gave me the sigh of relief that you get when you come home after travelling. I guess Copenhagen really is becoming my home away from home. Everything about this city is becoming more familiar to me and I feel a sense of belonging here. That being said, I am starting my volunteer work for Energy Crossroads this week, and will be touring Christiania and a Kelleris Vineyard with two of my classes on field study trips. Friday, I leave for Oslo, Norway on a 2 night cruise with about 30 other DIS students. Looking forward to another packed and exciting week..!