Believe me or not, but Amsterdam is one of my very favorite European cities. As I walked through its streets back in summer 2013, I soon found myself falling in love with its gorgeous canals and stunning architecture.
I suddenly dreamt of having an Amsterdam apartment with a canal view and thought excitingly about how I’d bike to and from work each day alongside the thousands of other cyclists. It’s spring 2015 now and I’m sitting in front of my laptop in a cozy and lovely cafeteria in Amsterdam, sipping my skinny latte and typing my next blog post. Life is full of surprises and dreams do really come true…
Moving to Amsterdam was a big change in my life – exciting, but also overwhelming. Suddenly, my whole life has changed. I moved to another country, I got back to university and started my Master’s programme in New Media and Digital Culture at UvA, I started a new marketing job, met enormous amount of people. Everything was new and time flew by fast. When visiting Amsterdam for a holiday in 2013, I tried to discover an alternative side to the city.
I generally avoided the top rated tourist sites and instead sought out weird and offbeat sites such as a cat sanctuary on a boat, the city’s vibrant street art scene and even the brand new Tattoo Museum. Now I live a local life here. I wake up in the City of Venice every day visiting hidden spots of still undiscovered Amsterdam. I am surrounded by amazing people who inspire me and experience a typical Dutch atmosphere thanks to my lovely boyfriend and his hospitable family.
Although I have been living here for over 6 months, I still remember my first impressions of Amsterdam. As you know, every city leaves an impression on you. You remember what it felt to be there, what it smelled like, what it looked like. Each and every impression involves a highly unique personal experience. Here are my first Amsterdam impressions:
The Beauty of Amsterdam
The whole city seemed so gorgeous to me. Buildings here are old, but not that old, and there are lots of shops and cafes and restaurants.
Moreover, I was simply blown away by Amsterdam’s view at night! When I visited Amsterdam for the first time, I was able to explore its canals, walk through the bridges, see locals riding their bikes and experience its modernity with a solid historical background. It felt amazing to stroll down the streets of “Venice of the North”.
It’s All about the Sandwiches and the Spread
I have never eaten so much bread in my life! A typical Dutch lunch involves a lot of dairy, a lot of bread, and a lot of smearing. I must admit that the Dutch are actually incredibly creative in the “spread department”.
Lovely Flea and Flower Markets
The flea and flower markets are my favourite thing in the city. Shopping in Amsterdam’s colorful and lively markets is a great way to clinch a bargain while picking up a few Dutch souvenirs, flowers, fancy second-hand clothes and a lot of organic food.
The love for the city’s market culture led me and 5 fellow students from UvA to create an illustrated eBook called “Markets of Amsterdam” that will help travelers, students and new residents of the city to get a one-stop information about the colorful and lively market scene of Amsterdam. It is individual and exclusive series on different types of markets, aimed to showcase places where to shop on a budget – the series 1 being on Flea Markets: Albert Cuymarkt, Dappermarkt , IJ-Hallen, Waterlooplein, Noordermarkt. The eBook has relevant descriptions in a friendly and relatable narrative style, with a sprinkle of video bytes, and original illustrations along with images.
Transportation and Cycling Tradition
The first thing I have to say is that, especially for its size, Amsterdam has the transit thing figured out. Trams run regularly on a schedule and I have not seen one be late yet. The subway also runs very regularly and is easy to figure out. Moreover, Amsterdam is a small city, so it is easy and fast to get around. I have been doing a lot of walking and cycling that keeps me active and healthy.
Cozy Cafes and Bars
Amsterdam offers a limitless supply of cafes and bars, somewhere around 1500. Every street side, corner, canal, nook and cranny has something to offer your taste buds and mood. For such a big coffee lover, this city is just a heaven!
I am so glad to be here, in a city known for its creativity, entrepreneurship and international trade with so many great opportunities for travel bloggers and students. I simply cannot what for what Amsterdam has to offer to me in the upcoming months!
42 thoughts on “Memories From Moving To Amsterdam”
I love how you feel so connected to Amsterdam. i will go back to Indonesia after less than 5 months in Tokyo, but i’m sure i will have made lots of memories in this place~
You will, for sure!! Enjoy Tokyo!!
Piękne zdjęcia, to miasto rzeczywiście ma w sobie magię. W Holandii mam dziadka i wujka, jakiś czas mieszkał u nich mój brat i również zachwycał się rejonami Amsterdamu. Aż chciałoby się tam wyruszyć i pozwiedzać trochę, oczywiście rowerem :)
Sam wybór drogi życiowej bardzo podziwiam – trzeba mieć w sobie wiele odwagi i samozaparcia, których mnie by brakowało. Dlatego zarówno ja, jak i ludzie do mnie podobni, możemy sobie tylko pomarudzić, pomarzyć i poobserwować z zazdrością, jak inny podbijają świat :)
Wonderful round up Agness of a city we know you love. Your passion and enthusiasm for the place rings through in this piece. And they’ve got a cat sanctuary on a boat? Did I miss that article? I’d love to read about it.
A cat sanctuary on a boat?!? Hmmmmmm never heard of it, but I’ll definitely check it out and let you know! :)
Following your heart is always a good decision! So glad that you are enjoying your life, Agness :).
It looks like a very beautiful city! I wish you the best on your “new” life in Europe (it looks like it’s going good so far).
Thank you, Leanne!
This is such a sweet post – it’s always lovely to look back on your first memories of a place! Still not been to Amsterdam myself, but from reading what you’ve experienced I can see why you love the city!
Yes, it’s absolutely wonderful <3!!
im glad you love the place! It has a unique feel, I have only spent 3 days of my entire life there I must admit and have few recollections of the city. other than the rain and cold! lol!
Hope you can return here so we can hang out together!
Lovely post! Welcome to Amsterdam! This brings back such wonderful memories to a younger time in my life. Savour these moments!
Have a beer at Arendsnest for me! :)
What a lovely introduction to your new city, and you look SO happy :) I love Amsterdam, too. The canals, cafees and bikes just makes it so homely and cosy.
Amsterdam makes me happy as you can see!
Ahhhhh this reminds me so much of my first teaching stint in Pakistan. So much love. I’m glad to see you so happy, Agness <3
THANKS TIM!!!! :*
Thank you for your really nice post. I visited Amsterdam a few years ago and loved it as well. As an American I can only spend 3 months there, but still, we are thinking of living there for 3 months because of the bike culture and because it is so pretty.
Have a great stay. Stan
Thanks, Stan! If you ever make it to Amsterdam, please let me know! Having a coffee together would be amazing!
Great you’re enjoying it there! After over a decade on and off living there I know exactly how the city can drag you in. Every-time you try and leave it eventually pulls you back at some point!
I know some bars and cafes, (of which is one of the best bars I have ever been to out of 75 countries visited) that I go too during the summer, some of which no tourists know about at all, even some locals have no clue about them. I love those places that are special.
Will be back myself in a few weeks time to meet friends from my days there.
When I was young I had to same dream of living in one if the gorgeous old houses at the canals in my hometown (it is similar to Amsterdam). And I still kind of do haha.
It seems like you are doing well in Amsterdam and I am happy to see that!
How I miss the little cafes and terraces of the Netherlands!
I am and I really enjoy myself here :)!!! :*
We have been to Amsterdam last summer for the first time. We could spent only three days, but I also thought how nice it would be to live in this beautiful city. Greetings from Berlin.
Love your post Agness! :) I love Amsterdam too! Have only been able to get up there once since I moved to Utrecht, but can’t wait to see more of it! I just read about that cat sanctuary! So excited to see it!! :D
I can’t to see you here! :)
How exciting, Agness, that you get to live in such a beautiful and exciting city! Wishing you all the best :-)
Thank you, Heather! If you ever make it there, let me know! Would love to be your guide!
I totally love Amsterdam. I visited on a weekend trip from London, like most and don’t feel I got the best of it all. Glad your dreams came true. Look forward to reading more from Amsterdam. Congrats on it all
I’m so glad to hear that! :)
Amsterdam is a great city to be explored by bike. There is a bike road outside the city, where the Ajax stadium is situated and it’s very scenic.
Absolutely. I cycle everywhere these days.
I loved Amsterdam the first time I visited – like you said, the canals, the food, the super friendly people, and the amount of bikes instead of cars just made it such a great place to be. You picked a lovely city to study and live :)
I’m glad you liked it :)!
What a lovely post. Lucky are the people who find connection with the city and end up living there. You are living in your paradise. Enjoy!
Thank you! Really appreciate it!