I found Amsterdam to be a stunning city. Cute and welcoming, every street corner is lined with tempting eateries and picturesque seating over the canals. Despite being only several hundred kilometres in size, it is very easy to lose yourself as every damn street looks the same. This is no problem at all in the afternoon, however at night, when the brawling, intoxicated British tourists come out to play and everyone is a little worse for wear; it’s often tremendously difficult to stagger your way back to your lodgings. However this is where I digress. Without sounding too much like a teacher (or a hypocrite), I must say I was astounded at the way us Brits treat the place. Every night of the week residents suffer the rowdy, brawling, swaying, stumbling intrusion of every stereotype we have to offer. Mankini-clad stag nights and feather boa donned hen parties brimming across the pavements, leaving piss and vomit in their wake. If it weren’t for the beautiful surroundings, I’d have thought we were in Magaluf.
I suppose by throwing in legalised drugs and prostitution into a holiday it’s bound to have a morphing affect on our behaviour. Politicians love to use Amsterdam as a prime example of why certain drugs cannot be legalised in the UK. In some ways, ok, they have a point. But it’s only a small number of our population that represent us in this way. When a haven is created for such behaviour to be tolerated, of course we will go crazy for it. But put it on our doorstep and I am sure the novelty will wear off soon enough.
So after hearing that London Mayor Boris Johnson recently dubbed Amsterdam as ‘sleazy’, I could only cringe more at the embarrassment my home nation is causing. It made me laugh to hear that Amsterdam’s Mayor, Eberhard Van der Laan, responded with an open invitation to visit the city and witness exactly how the British tourists behave in comparison to local residents. Then Boris can form his opinion. It’s us who bring the sleaze not them Boris! My impression of Amsterdam was a city of tolerance and respect for its inhabitants. Some may call this loose morale and out of control, but I believe we could learn a thing or two from their culture.
What was my favourite place? Stedelijk Museum – check out Marlene Dumas
Where did I eat? Brix – a restaurant near the canal, tucked away from the tourists. I was lucky to be taken here by some old Erasmus friends who grew up in the city.
What did I listen to? MØ – I Don’t Wanna Dance
What was I reading? Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn