Amsterdam - The Floating City

Amsterdam - The Floating City

Amsterdam - The Floating City

-By Shruti Menon

Stepping into Amsterdam, it becomes very quickly obvious as to why the city rose to prominence as a trading center. Amsterdam is interwoven with beautiful, sparkling canals with trees bowing over them, almost protectively, a sight which fittingly gives the city the moniker of ‘the floating city’. These unique sights, however, don’t have a smidge of intimidation— Amsterdam instead is a place of coziness and comfort, no matter how far away in the world you’re flying in from.

Like most great cities, Amsterdam is steeped in cultural history that many today would take great inspiration in knowing about. If you’ve read The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank during her time in hiding during Hitler’s reign, you’d want to visit the Anne Frank Huis, the place she lived when in hiding for those two years, which has now been turned into a museum space. Other famous cultural icons from the Netherlands are Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent Van Gogh, and naturally, Amsterdam pays homage to these great men of their land with beautiful museums and galleries. The Van Gogh museum has his largest collection of artwork on display and the glorious Rijksmuseum is filled with Vermeers, Rembrandts and other Golden Age treasures to appease the viewers’ soul. There is also the Museum Het Rembrandthuis which offers more of Rembrandt via his etching-packed studio. This kind of art history has given way to many other art hubs in the city which are also well worth a visit.

Amsterdam is definitely an incredible city to be in, and many other visitors to it feel the same way. It’s known for its feeling of gezellig, roughly meaning ‘cozy’ in Dutch— it’s not the kind of word that can be very accurately defined in English, you’d have to go there to see for yourself. This feeling is intensified at a bruin cafe, meaning brown cafe due to the wood paneling and the walls once stained by smoke, where you can get great, hearty food and beer that’s like gezellig on tap. It makes Amsterdam feel like a safe space (if I were to borrow a Swahili term that fits here,) it gives you a sort of Hakuna Matata feeling, and really, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?