Some thoughts on Amsterdam

After a great weekend of traveling and experiencing another incredible city in Europe I feel the need to sit back and reflect upon my experiences from the last few days. The city of Amsterdam is extremely unique and unlike anything I have experienced before. It was established in 1275 and with the fourth of July just passing I thought about the 501 year head start this one city has had on the entire United States. The culture and demeanor of the Dutch people was something that I took particular interest in. In the city everything is built in extremely tight quarters so the best way to get around is by bicycle. The amount of bikes seen parked in squares and being ridden down the street is overwhelming everyone from young to old is on their bikes and they’re all riding the same Dutch style bicycles. The aspect that the city boasts is its incredible canal network. It is one thing to walk on its edges looking in, but the view and scenery from within the canals is uncomparable.  During the late afternoon hours when all the restaurants and cafes are packed the canals are also alive with people eating and drinking on little boats moving freely around the city. Some must see locations are Dam Square where the Queen’s palace is located, which acts as a large common area with dining and music and also the Heineken factory. The tour itself was great and allowed me to have a conversation with some local Dutch. The conversation that I had was disheartening for me. In that conversation I learned what the locals feelings were toward the tourism industry in Amsterdam and what the city is overall known for. The famous red light district and coffee shops have made Amsterdam a major tourist destination for all the wrong reasons. The city and people have so much more to offer its visitors that what you will find in the tourist-ridden area where you find such venues. Altogether the areas with these venues are almost completely comprised with tourists and barely any locals. The cheap food venders and tacky shirt stores devalue the great city that is Amsterdam. This type of attraction reminded me of a built up tourist destination in the US and it is sad that many tourists come and leave the city without every really experiencing what it truly is. 

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