Why Amsterdam is a great place to live?
Why Amsterdam is a great place to live? Many of us during the social distancing period, start reflecting on what makes it so special to live in Amsterdam. When discussing with some expats (In this article we tried to find out from a point of view of “outsiders”), we discovered what makes this city so special in all sorts and forms.
Amsterdam itself is know by many people, even on the other side, when New York was once called New Amsterdam. Throughout the history from navigators, to painters to the city of sins (We prefer to say, a place for everything and everyone) Amsterdam made its course to today with fame and recognition surviving in the good and bad moments. It attracts today around 5.3 million tourists per year from all ages and cultures seeking all sorts of activities and sightseeing.
So what makes the city of canals and narrow buildings so special?
Things to See & Do
It is undeniable that this would have to be on top. When arriving in Amsterdam it is difficult to choose from all the available activities, from the romantic walks inside the “Grachtengordel” (Canal Ring) and the narrow buildings, to a boat tour admiring all the canals and the architecture, to visiting Museums and Art Galleries, shopping in the De bijenkorf, or appreciating history like Anne Frank’s museum, Banksy Artwork (Moco Museum) among others. In the end it is not what you can do, but how much time you have to do it all.
View from a canal on the left. On the right view of the Rijksmusum |© Rogério Moreira | Unsplash
The city is growing not only in embracing big companies (Booking.com, Uber, Bestseller, Adidas, Nike, we could stay here all night…) but also in the startup “game”.
Amsterdam was always known for its history related to commerce, from the Golden Age (Circa 1600/1800), and trade being rooted in the city’s daily lives, no wonder a climate of entrepreneurial and business was always present. There is an openness from the city in creating new companies and all the necessary tools to provide it (Co-work spaces, Tax incentives for both companies and Expats). There is also very rooted an attitude of doing it and thinking outside of the box than just bureaucracy which leads to fast experimentation and growth. English also plays an important factor here, which allows companies and expats to integrate quicker within Amsterdam and the way of working and living.
You can also have support of techleap which was created with the purpose of quantifying and accelerating the tech ecosystem of Netherlands.
Fun fact – Did you know the first stock exchange was in Amsterdam in 1602?
Food & Drink Scene
Well, if you made your homework, you probably know that The Netherlands are not that particularly famous for their traditional Gastronomy. Mmm scratch that, yes, it is not like the French, Italian, Portuguese, or others, but who doesn’t enjoy some great Bitterballen after work, washed up by a good dutch beer, or that raw herring and Kibbeling that we find during the weekends in the street markets.
Or are you a cheesy person? You probably know this already if you are a Gooda Person (Mmm we tried a joke :)), that Netherlands is famous for cheese like Gouda, Maasdammer, Geitenkaas and Old Amsterdam, which are definitely worth to try. It is a bit expensive, but if you do have time you can try them at Henri Willig Cheesemakers which are spread out through the city, from cow, goat and sheep cheese, they also offer special packages as gifts.
If you are looking for something more sweet and warm, look no further, this is probably part of our favorites, the poffertjes, small round pillows of pancakes, fluffy and with powdered sugar on top and butter, or the Stroopwafels (we are salivating right now), delicious thin waffles with a layer of sweet syrup like caramel/honey flavor inside, you can find them hot in bakeries and street markets. You can also find them in packages in supermarkets (They do have some cheaper versions, but they are delicious and great as a gift to take home, just don’t say “Just one more won’t hurt” on the way home).
Yes, although the dutch cuisine is not as complex as others and based more on simplicity, still it is quite worth to try many other foods, Amsterdam itself is surrounded by enormous variety of restaurants from cuisines all over the world. Yes we didn’t point out other foods, but that will be left for a special article, I guess the Stroopwafels already gave us too much salivating.
Are you vegetarian? Don’t worry, Amsterdam is great also in the Vegetarian/Vegan scene.
As a final dessert, we do love the food scene and we think that they do have their own special gastronomy.
Lots, lots of Activities
Amsterdam is know for diverse activities, from art lovers, history lovers, dance events, museums, galleries, shopping, nearby beaches (Ah we had to stop to get our breath back), Amsterdam got it all. You can always find an unknown charming street to explore, a cafetaria or a restaurant you never heard before, enjoy a piece of history, museum, exhibitions or galleries to visit. There is always something to spend a good time, when looking to arts and history, The Rijksmuseum is the place to go where you can appreciate the “Night Watch”, next to it The Van Gogh’s museum, gathering this famous painter’s art and you can even enjoy via a nice timeline. Not a fan of Art, more a Science person? With kids or not, enjoy the NEMO Science Museum, where you discover and give Science a new fun meaning, you can always end with a nice coffee or snack in the rooptop cafetaria. In the Summer enjoy one of the many terraces while having a fresh drink, bathe in areas like Sommerlust, or bike throughout the city exploring. Did we forget to mention to can ago almost anywhere by bicycle?