4 minutes reading
Today I’m writing from Amsterdam, Netherlands. The end of another lucky travel for me. Quick but so much fun. Days felt like minutes here! There’s always something going on at any hour of the day. It’s a city like no other where you feel transported in the past at the same time as pushed forward into the future.
For me, travels forge intelligence. By seeing what others do, one is more able to make your choices and therefore to see if your country does things according to your own value. In short, to see who’s right. But not right according to something the society might be saying but right according to your own view of the system you’re in. We’re all in a system, we live in our little worlds connected to one another.
We have to be thankful for the place we live in but then again, as we say : “Grass is always greener next door”. We will always want to see what others do and that curiosity is actually what makes us grow. Always wanting to learn new things, never do the same thing in a row. Curiosity can be a good thing if you try to play with it.
We usually hear that we should all go to a new place, meet new people, do something new and so on every months. And by being always curious, you certainly can be thankful for what you have, it’s more easier. Sometimes you have to make it your own way to make it work and that’s exactly how it’s going to work. If one is curious enough, one dare listen to its heart and let it drive.
It’s crazy to see how things are different here. I’m vegetarian and being vegetarian in France can be quite difficult, sometimes I even have to take the food I can’t eat off my meals. In the last countries I went to, things were so easy for a vegan, just like in Amsterdam, there’s a vegan option in almost every place you go. More convenient when you’re not necessarily eating with vegan people.
Furthermore, I always wondered why we hear that there is too much plastic in our oceans and then see a single cookie packed in another box full of other single packed cookies. That’s just an example but it’s crazy sometimes. Even in our organic main shops in France we see those things. They tell you to eat well for the planet and then make you buy a little more plastic to let spread into the oceans. In other countries, here in the Netherlands for instance, you can find the first plastic free shop! Which is saying a lot. You’re advised not to buy plastic and always have another option, wood, cardboard, reusable plastic etc… Even on our way here, we had coffees served with compostable cups in the flight! I wonder why we don’t choose the right solution when there is one, we know there’s plenty of things available if we really want to change things quickly. That is actually an idea I’m going to develop in a few articles, how we should always be aware of what comes into our bodies.
You can find a lot of structures built for people working on their own, where they can come and work in an open space with other workers. A good way to share idea and connect, therefore, expand. It feels like everything is thought differently here.
The mood isn’t the same, as many of you know, you can smell weed anywhere so it might explain what I’m saying…
Joke aside, the city is really quiet, everyone drives a bike or take the public transports so you can’t hear a multitude of cars. But I have to say it, there’s A LOT of bikes! Too many, I heard there’s more bikes than there is Amsterdamers. I sure know there’s too many, I almost got hit by a bike and a tram ! But I think part of this respectful mood comes from the fact that you can have a €90 fine if you drink alcohol outside and a €140 one in case of littering, another good I idea if you ask me.
Everyone is welcomed, everyone cohabit. Even though we hear about all the crazy things that happen here, they also have a lot religious people from very different background. In front of Centraal Station, one of the buildings that welcomes you has « JESUS LOVES YOU » written on its wall. You might even find an Hindu temple near you.
And also guys, it might come has a shock for you but you can’t actually smoke weed in Amsterdam. Well at least it’s not legal to, it’s just tolerated. It’s crazy to see what happens when the people decide and not the government. Coffee shops have a right to sell coffee yes but for the rest, “it’s not declared”. The people are respectful and mature enough to decide on their own so that the government make it « tolerated ». It might actually be declared and everyone gets a little something. And that’s why this society works, at the beginning the city was built for its canals, anyone could pass by to sell things in the commercial port. So I’m here in a place where everyone gets its part on the deal ; as long as everyone is happy, things go well.
Nevertheless, everything here is expensive. Coffee is €3, a metro ticket is €3,20 (in Paris it’s still €1,90 to compare). But if you’re curious enough to look online why so, you find that the Netherlands have one of Europe’s highest minimum wage. That should explain why so many people want to come live here.
I wouldn’t though.. cause this place is too cold for me. I stayed for 5 days and I didn’t see ANY sun – maybe a little bit of blue sky – and I am one of those who need to actually feel the sun. Maybe going there on the winter wasn’t helpful I know. What could make me live here though is that this city is cosmopolitan. I met wonderful Brazileros and Australian people for instance.
And it’s also a romantic place where you can wonder on a cruise on the canals, loose yourself in the narrow streets, even loose yourself in the past by going in an old movie place or in the museums (Anne Frank’s home or Van Gogh museum to cite only two). Maybe you want to watch a play in the City Theatre or enjoy a nice pubcrawl … Almost too many choices don’t you think?
I’m happy that I was able to visit this wonderful city. Even though I wouldn’t go everywhere in the city with my children – no need to explain what is happening in Amsterdam Red Quarter – we can find many things to take as an example, a lot of them are working there and some of the ideas are worth considering.
If you’re looking for a quiet place where you can enjoy yourself, have a good time, discover the culture and come back home rested, then Amsterdam is definitely a place you should visit, you’ll be more than welcomed almost everywhere… But don’t forget to have some cash on you, in case you need to go to the toilets, you might have to spend €0,50 every time. And they won’t let you even if you show them you don’t have any cash left trust me! But it’s ok, you’ll find an ATM hidden in the next corner shop, you will spend that money.
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