I thought it would be nice to write a post about this topic! I was born and raised in a tiny little village in Belgium and moved to Amsterdam 1 year ago.
Like I wrote in an earlier post, I come from a very little village of only 600 inhabitants. People knew each other very well, were also often related in one way or the other. We knew our neighbours, there were often activities organised by different organisations. When we had the yearly “Karnaval”, the entire village was there. Nowadays there is even a Facebook page of the street I used to live in where people stay in contact with each other and inform each other.
Amsterdam is very different. I barely know the people in my building. I know their names and recognize them, but that’s it. After living here for one year, I feel like I can finally fully judge it. I went from being a countryside girl to being a city lady after all.
First of all: I don’t like the many many tourists here. Ok I’m also not a local but I live here, so it’s still different. Tourists walk around here, thinking like they own the place. They bike on the tramrails in the city centre (not allowed), get on the tram via the exit doors before people even get a chance to get off, and they walk side by side on the sidewalk, forcing other people to step aside on the road.
Every morning when I step out my door to go to work, I am amazed by how unrespectful people have treated the streets the night before. I praise the workers from the municipality because they clean the streets every day.
In the beginning, I was shocked by all this behaviour. Intimidated a bit as well. But now, I just react back. I block the exit doors so I force them to let me off first. I stand still on the sidewalk to they have to walk around me or I just bump into them and give them my angry face. It’s not who I am, but it is what Amsterdam does to you. Survival of the fittest.
Amsterdam is always alive, except for Sunday morning. Then even Albert Heijn opens only at 10 am. But hey – at least it opens. In Belgium the shops are not opened every weekend.
Amsterdam has a huge diversity in people – and they seem to live together pretty well. I have seen so many nationalities and religions here, but it’s all fine. Everybody here speaks the same language (mainly English ;-)) and minds their own business.
With the diversity also comes the different flavours. Whatever you feel like eating: Amsterdam probably can offer it to you. French, Thai, Indonesian, Argentinian, Mexcian, Turkish,Chinese, Japanese: you name it, and there’s a high chance they will deliver it even to your door!
I miss the fresh air and the fields and orchards of the countryside. But on the other hand – I enjoy not needing my car here in the centre. I think living in the centre of Amsterdam is fine as long as you don’t have children or pets. If you have those, you might want to move more in the surrounding areas – or even a bit further like Den Haag.
I don’t see myself living here for the rest of my life – but maybe another year (or two).
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? How do you feel about it?