Expat Gone Wild: Experiencing that Dam atmosphere

Expat Gone Wild: Experiencing that Dam atmosphere

Aug 2, 2017 |  by  |  Art, Lifestyle
About the author
Half-tourist and half-journalist, I am a full-time hot chocolate drinker who never leaves her camera. Always on the lookout, from classical music to rap, to the arts or good spots to visit, I could also feed myself with history and culture of all kinds.

They ride their trashy Dutch bikes like die-hard rickshaw cyclists in India, they know that going Dutch is synonymous for “baby, pay your own bill” and they stalk their naked neighbour in his curtain-less flat just like he is stalking them. They are expats gone wild in Amsterdam and I am one of them! Let me share my stories about a foreigner’s life in this glorious town. You’re in La La Land before you know it.

“When we say that we’re coming here people automatically think that we’re just going to get high or gonna see the Red Light District. But it’s just a historic city we wanted to see.” some people from Oxford told us. Indeed, coffeeshops and prostitutes might be the most relevant sign of the general atmosphere of freedom surrounding the city. But Amsterdam isn’t just about that at all. Yuki and I wanted to see if people felt the same as we do, so we interviewed different people in the streets.

Coming for a break

When you interview people in the streets you notice that they won’t mention coffeeshops or the Red Light District. Many of them come for a break without a plan. Some spend their time walking through the streets. That’s no different from Amsterdammers and Dutch people; they walk with friends, visit new places. Both North and South Hollanders told us that they enjoyed being there a few days several times a year, to have dinner, shopping, sit on a terrace. So both tourists and Dutch people spend their time here chilling. Why specifically in Amsterdam?

An enjoyable city

The canals and buildings make the streets enjoyable to walk through. So agreed some people from the UK: “Here, it’s not a road but a footpath, especially with the crossings. It feels quite slow, calm. We enjoy the architecture, learn about the city and the history behind it.”

When you’re on your bike it’s a bit difficult, but that comes with a big city. We get used to it.

However, the students from Brussels highlighted a negative aspect: “There’s a lot of tourists, which somewhat takes the charm out of the city.” Is that really a problem? It doesn’t refrain Hollanders to come to enjoy “all people young and old, from different countries.” Amsterdammers wouldn’t like to leave: “There’s always something to do, at every corner. It’s a little busy. When you’re on your bike it’s a bit difficult, but that comes with a big city. We get used to it.” The diversity of people here is attractive, as said a Syrian refugee who asked to come here because it’s an “international city.”

“It’s a lovely city, very clean, neat, tidy, extremely friendly people” as some folks from York put it York. The architecture melting with the friendly people that crowd the city seems to create a unique atmosphere.

Relaxed and cosy atmosphere

What was striking with this inquiry is that people, either tourists or Amsterdammers, all feel the same when they chill around: “The freedom to do whatever you want,” said some UK girls. “People are alive, happily, relaxed; it’s a very good atmosphere. I take a lot of energy from it.” told an Iranian willing to come back after he first fell in love with the charm of the city. Everything that Amsterdam has been built on leads to a general atmosphere of happiness: “The life quality is quite good here. Better than in our hometown; it’s more clean, tidier, and kind of people you meet, the atmosphere.”

It’s really laid back; you can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do. People just let you be yourself.

Young students from Brussels found the city busy, yet thought about coming to live here. Amsterdammers explained why: “It’s really laid back; you can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do. People just let you be yourself.”

To sum it up, the main activity of people who come here is to chill out. Many of them come for a break and the architecture makes them forget the crowd. “It looks different, and I notice that people are happy here. They’re cycling, the atmosphere looks like in a dream. You wake up and it looks like it.” That moment, a man cycling warned us: “Wake up!” We laughed. We’re not dreaming.

Lovely, cosy, relaxing, happy people describe that Dam atmosphere. What else?

Sharing is caring!