Iman goes Amsterdam!
Now I’m pretty sure most of you students have been to Amsterdam even if you’ve just sat in Schiphol airport. We’re all aware of groups of newly turned 18 year old’s who go on a group holiday- especially from Britain to visit the “coffee shops’’ and the ‘’oh so naughty’’ red light district. But Amsterdam has so much more to offer and I’m going to give you a sample. I wanted to do something slightly different so I went on the Alternative Amsterdam tour and to the A’dam tower.
The tour is free and is based off of tips you pay what you can so it’s student budget friendly. It commences every day at 2:00pm from Dam square. We had a particularly enthusiastic tour guide although not a native, but a local and familiar with some of the underground scene. Even my Native Dutch friend learnt a thing or two. We heard about the history of Amsterdam the reason for the slanted buildings and long living traditional designs. There are differing theories as to why; the tour guide seemed to be in the opinion with the theory, that due to the houses being built on wooden poles which weren’t hammered deep enough over time the wet marshy foundations weren’t sturdy enough, causing shifts. As long as the houses have each other to lean on, however they should be alright. We also learned that due to the protection of old buildings you aren’t allowed to change the colour they must be kept the original brick colour or may be painted black. There are apparently also rules for the types of houseboats too. It’s seems all pretty strict in the capital and they seem very keen on preserving tradition and style which I can respect. We also learnt a bit about the history behind the decriminalization of weed. It turns out the Nederlanders of the past were quite cheeky yet adamant to get their way with the police. They would pull pranks such as carrying bags of oregano to rile them up and make them look foolish. The famous Bulldog cafe (palace) the first legal ‘’coffee shop’’ used to in fact be a police station. The owner Henk de Vries who was always caught with weed was no stranger to the building, so when it went up for sale he bought it claiming that he was there so often he may as well buy it.
A’Dam tower albeit not all that cheap, was definitely worth the view and experience- the highest swing in Europe literally goes over the edge of the building. Although admittedly it was my idea, once we got to the top and I was sitting on the swing, I was absolutely bricking it. I mean there is a safety belt. Although it only comes across your waist so doesn’t do much for reassurance. But once you open your eyes and realize out of the thousands of people who have been on before me the likelihood of me plunging into the river below or worse yet, free fall head first into the crowd of people would be slim to none. The view is really quite stunning and the experience a little surreal- there was even music to set the mood. Included in the ticket was a free professional photo and access to the 360 view. Admittedly it was quite chilly up there this time of year- it was still thoroughly enjoyable. To get there you get on this shuttle ferry from the central station and in a few minutes you’ve arrived. There was also a funny little light show in the ceiling of the lift- epileptics beware, but it does spice up the mundanity of riding lifts.
All in all it was a lovely trip I nowhere near have discovered all of Amsterdam but I feel it was something different a little different to do. If you’re ever in the city try them both out you won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading