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Amsterdam


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Amsterdam... city of lights!

Published by angelo laudiero — 4 years ago

Amsterdam is the city of lights! Its canals and bridges, its Reinassence historic center and its strategic position make of Amsterdam one of the most interesting European capitals.

Of course, we can't forget its economic role of great port even if in competition with Rotterdam. As well as we can't forget its history, especially during Second World War, when Amsterdam was occupied by Nazi soldiers and the city Jews community practically disappeared.

Amsterdam is a fantastic place also for its transgression regarding the use of light drugs that you can buy in "coffee shops", or the legalization of prostitution in the world famous red lights district.

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Fun in Amsterdam

Published by Barbarka Houfková — 3 years ago

In the end of the semester we talked about our plans with Lilian and she just mentioned that she still had few free days in May before she starts her voluntary job in Romania. I started to think about my plans and I realized that at that time I would be in Amsterdamstudying for my state exams (staying with Czech friends). I immediately asked if it would be possible that Lilian could stay in Amsterdam with us. The answer was yes! Unfortunately, when I sent Lilian message about it she had already planned the trip to Berlin. After we found out that if she missed one flight she would be still able to come at least for one day and one night to Amsterdam. In the beginning I did not expect her to do it. After, during our Capital Market class Lilian found direct bus going from Berlin to Amsterdam! When she decided to buy it I was so excited!

I don´t even remember when exactly it happened but in the middle of the semester I started to be really close to this girl. Since beginning I spent a lot of time with girls from Slovakia and the Czech Republic (Katarina and Lucia) and I love them! We were together almost every time before the party and we travelled together a lot. However, it is quite easy to get closer to the people from the same country as you can share everything in your own language and every time you have something in common – the place where you were born. With people from another countries it does not have to be so easy.

At the earliest we started to go to the parties with Lilian. She was always active, energetic and full of positive energy. I remember that every time when I wanted to go out she was in! Later, I noticed that we had also all French classes together (extensive and intensive ones). The another good thing was that she was living just 6 minutes away from my house. I got to like her really easily.

Fun in Amsterdam

Thanks to her I had an amazing last week in Lille when we literally spent every night together. We went to the dinners, to the parties and right after it we went to Portugal for a whole week. I can say that when I was with Lilian I felt so naturally that I could tell her all my secrets with no worries. Sometimes I just wish I spoke Spanish to share more ideas with her! I can not even describe how grateful I am that I have met her and how much I love her!

Fun in Amsterdam

When we were back in Lille after Portugal I was looking forward to spending the last night together. Unfortunately, Lilian decided to do a market research instead (haha, I guess she had to). Anyway, I decided to walk her to the bus station in the morning. It was funny when I found out that the bus was supposed to leave really early and because of the party I slept 3 hours. Actually, I did not mind at all. I could sleep after. The weather was awful and it was raining. Lilian was going to Marocco. I felt happy to accompany her and I already knew that we were going to see each other in 20 days, which meant no goodbye. It is just a shame we did not speak more before she planned all the trips because if I had known them I would have gone with her! Although it was impossible as I had exams in Lille. When she left we started to have a long discussions on messenger. Every time when I really wanted to speak to her I just wrote her everything to keep her informed. When the day of her visit came I was so looking forward to see her again!

Fun in Amsterdam

She chose again a perfect timing – coming to Amsterdam at 5. 30 am. Hopefully, I just picked her up at the Central station, we had a breakfast and we went sleep. I was surprised that we woke up around noon. Immediately we started to make our plan. I suggested three places where to go and in the end we accomplished just one. Our task was going to the Amsterdam letters (the most touristic place). Although, firstly, we needed to have a lunch. We were looking for a restaurant my friend recommended us and suddenly we saw the Italian restaurant called Vapiano. When Lili saw it she just said we had to go there because when they went to Munich they had a lunch in the same one. I did not hesitate at all since I love Italian food. It was really fancy place! You could watch cooks how they prepared your food and they had a lot of types of pasta. We chose our place for eating outside.

Fun in Amsterdam

After I wanted to show Lili the boat Nemo because it was recently reconstructed. It is a big boat where you can climb up to see whole Amsterdam and have a beer/coffee/food. There were a lot of small fountains. I think that Lilian brought sun to Amsterdam because the day before she came it was quite cold, when she came we had like 24 degrees with sunshine whole day and when she left it was again cloudy. With this weather in Amsterdam we felt hot whole day – but it was of course pleasant!

Fun in Amsterdam

After having a beer in Nemo boat we finally headed to the Amsterdam letters. It was quite far by walking. When we got there we wanted to take some pictures together but it was almost impossible. The place was totally crowded. We spent some time there in the park with fountain where you can stand inside and you are surrounded by water.

After, we decided to have the worst idea ever.

Fun in Amsterdam

Actually, I think it is the fault of Mattia. When we went to Paris and stayed at his place, we were playing famous game Never have I ever… Unfortunately, Lilian said: Never have I ever tried the weed. That´s why we decided to try it this day, in Amsterdam. I already tried it as a cigarette (and everything went well) but when I had the cookies it was horrible. Therefore, I was scared to have a cake again. Although the bad experience happened at friend´s house and I thought that they made a mistake when they cooked it because it was too strong. I was sure that if I tried it in appropriate coffee shop my experience should be definitely better. Now I know that I was mistaken about it.

Fun in Amsterdam

On our way back we found famous Bulldog coffee shop and we asked the guy about advice. He answered that they sell special space cake for people who had never smoked before and we should definitely have each one. We wanted to share one but when he said that it would not have any effect we both two of them.

Fun in Amsterdam

We took it into the park and we were curious about our experience. When we finished it we did not feel anything. The guy said: You should wait at least 30 minutes. In the meantime we were talking and we were complaining that we threw up money for nothing. We were complaining a lot until the effect came. I noticed it when I felt really slow. It was already 8 pm so we went home and my friends prepared the dinner for us. I felt awful. I had a terrible headache, I felt really slow and tired. I told Lilian that I did not want to see other people and have dinner with them but at that time she felt normal and she convinced me to go there for a dinner. I really tried to act normally and I think nobody thought I was different even though they knew we had a space cake.

After the dinner we were supposed to meet another Czech friend (including Marek who Lilian already met) and I wanted to introduce Lilian to everybody. Nothing of this happened because after the dinner we were totally exhausted. Seriously. It was terrible. I just wanted to fell normal but I could not do anything. The food and the water did not help me. Therefore, we went to the bed to take a nap for a while. After Lilian told me that she already started to feel like someone hammered on her head all the time. I had similar feelings. I just wanted to sleep but it was not so easy actually. It took me some time to fell asleep. I can´t believe that someone could like it.

When we woke up, it was already morning. We were sleeping almost 12 hours! We both agreed that it was a horrible idea. In addition, we missed whole evening/party with my friends. After this, I am sure that I am not going to try it again – at least not in food! Nevertheless, at least we tried it together and I guess we will remember it. In the morning we did not have much time so we just had a breakfast and Lilian went for a bus to Brussels to continue with travelling. Funny thing was that she forgot her shoes in Amsterdam. It is already the second story with her shoes – I will tell you about the first one when I talk about the weekend trip to Paris.

Fun in Amsterdam

I was just one day with Lilian and I enjoyed it a lot! I already felt so sad before she came about the end of my exchange and being with Lilian reminded me all happy moments. She can always cheer me up! I enjoyed talking about everything because we had a whole day for it. We did not say goodbye as we already planned meeting in Brno in the beginning of July! For now, I can´t wait seeing her again in one month! I hope we never say goodbye and every time we just plan something different for what we can look forward!

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Graffiti on Spuistraat, Amsterdam

Translated by Helen Hardy — 2 years ago

Original text by Patricia Saiz Díaz

Graffiti on Spuistraat, Amsterdam

Spuistraat is a picturesque street in Amsterdam city centre which connects Hekelveld to the well-known Spui Square. Spuistraat was originally a canal known as Nieuwezijds Achterburgwal. The canal was removed in 1967, and Spuistraat received its current name.

Spuistraat is home to several historical buildings, such as the Dominicuskerk, the Art-Nouveau style building which houses DC Stähle bakery, and many others. There are large graffiti-style murals on the walls of several buildings on the street.

In fact, Spuistraat is almost entirely covered in art. If you're passing through this area of Amsterdam, it's worth stopping here to admire the artwork. There's even a 10 euro 'Street Art Amsterdam' tour you can go on, which leaves from the Central Station and lasts three hours.

Some of the graffiti artists who have left their work here are C215, Alice Pasquini, Space Invader, Stinkfish, The London Police, Inkie, Icy & Sot, Bustart, Zaira and FAKE.

Most of this artistic activity, which young people are usually responsible for, is loosely connected to certain music scenes such as Hip Hop, certain sports such as skating and cycling, and videogames. There are now several well-known graffiti artists in Amsterdam, similar to in the United States.

Graffiti on Spuistraat, Amsterdam

Graffiti artists refer to themselves as authors or bombers. By law, a graffiti artist is required to pay for the damages caused by their activity. Since the cost of a clean-up is 150 euros per metre squared, while the cleaning of an entire wall can cost hundreds of thousands of euros, very few street artists have the intention of letting themselves be caught. On the occasions that they are, graffiti artists are usually detained for one night, though they can legally be detained for up to three days and six hours. Judges are lenient usually only with the first offense: offenders are usually only required to pay a small fine for vandalism, and are required to clean the area themselves. If caught for a second time, the offendor can be put behind bars and made to pay a heavy fine for the damages. Due to this, many court cases dealing with graffiti end in the offender paying a fine and co-operating with the removal of the paintings, with 10% of the compensation fee paid to the court. It's unsurprising that the majority of graffiti appears on front doors, gates and nearby places.

The Amsterdam authorities have attempted to decriminalise graffiti by creating legal areas and opportunities to paint, promoting graffiti artists who have been accepted by society and sponsoring them, giving them decorating commissions. Graffiti expositions have also been opened, and popular works of graffiti are available to buy from museums. Over the last few years, the Brabantsmuseum in Hertogenbosch and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo have become the best-known museums.

Graffiti on Spuistraat, Amsterdam

Some graffiti artists even have their own websites. The best way to get in contact with local artists is by visiting Henxs Henxs, a small shop selling aerosol cans and two types of protective equipment: masks to prevent you inhaling the spray, and balaclavas to prevent the police from recognising you on security cameras. The shops is near to Waterlooplein and the Remembrant House, and its address is Henxs Henxs, St Antoniesbreestraat 136, 1011HB.

In April 2007, Amsterdam's mayor Job Cohen joined in with painting a large piece of graffiti during a city-organised event.

Another interesting thing to see on this street is the graffiti on the 'Snake House', inhabited by squatters. Squatting has been legal in the Dutch capital if certain rules are followed since 2010, though illegal squatting in Holland has been common since the 1940s. Amsterdam squatters form groups named 'kraakspeekuur' which offer each other advice and support in different neighbourhoods, and live in empty public buildings. These groups help to mobilize groups of squatters who plan to occupy a building. They organise who will break into the house first, and who will converse with the authorities, who are made aware of the situation in advance so that they don't run into problems. A minimum amount of furniture is necessary to demonstrate that a squat is legal, such as a chair, table and bed, plus a lock on the door to allow the squatter to enter and exit the property. Many of these houses used by squatters are recognisable by the huge graffiti artworks which completely cover their facades.

Graffiti on Spuistraat, Amsterdam

Graffiti on Spuistraat, Amsterdam

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Amsterdam

Published by Barbarka Houfková — 2 years ago

Amsterdam

I would never believe that I could say it but „Living in Amsterdam is amazing! “ People who know me well already know what I am talking about. I had a lot of cons (negative things) against Amsterdam in the past. I don’t even know why. I would say that mainly because it is famous for its shitty weather while I am a lover of sunny hot weather. Maybe, it started when David went studying there and we had to be in different cities or I just did not find it as interesting as other people. Anyways, I decided to study in Amsterdam and stay here at least one year.

First thoughts about Amsterdam

I remember exactly when I started to think about Amsterdam for the first time. It was a usual day when I was in a bad mood because of my mathematics exam and one of my best friends at that time (Vitek) just told me: “Don’t be sad. I have an amazing idea. We will go together to Amsterdam for the weekend. ” We never went there together but it made me feel better that day. I did not have much money in my first year at the university and it was a distant goal for me. I wanted to visit the city so bad. It seemed to me really attractive. I just thought that if I went there I would experience something crazy there. Later on, I found out that not everything that Vitek says can fulfill but my wish stayed and we starting to plan when to go there.

Since I already agreed with Mara, we were just looking for someone to join us. This trip was insane since the beginning. One day before we changed the city, we did not know where we were going and how. I mean, we both wanted to go to Amsterdam for sure. Although the tickets were getting expensive and we already changed plans from using blablacar to renting a car. We were in contact with few friends but one of them canceled the trip at last moment and another one could not stand our spontaneity (or late planning). We ended up going to Budapest with Lucy and her boyfriend. But is not it a coincidence that Lucy and Mara became my closest friends?

Amsterdam

First time in Amsterdam

The point was that I had to postpone the trip. I went there for the first time with David when he moved there one year ago. My first feelings were not so good. Firstly, I was disappointed from the weather because in comparison to the Czech Republic it was colder. Secondly, I don’t think it is an amazing city for tourist. Since I just came for one week, I was a tourist.

I guess that many people would not agree with me but I think that Amsterdam is better for living than visiting for real. Of course, it is awesome to see the canals but what next? I would say that enjoying the atmosphere of buildings and canals is a matter of living in the city rather than visiting the city for one day. I cannot imagine anybody to watch the canals for a whole day. I would even say that two days are enough for visiting Amsterdam. Seriously. What is here? If you are not a big fun of museums, there are not so many options to do. There are no big sightseeing places. Mill houses are quite far. Well, you can go to coffee shops. In my opinion, I don’t find it so attractive. Maybe it is because you can also smoke weed in the Czech Republic but I just don’t think that it is worth it to go to this city only because of coffee shops. Another situation is if you are a party animal and you just want to stop thinking. Then, Amsterdam is exactly for you and you can enjoy really relaxed days there.

I remember that first time in Amsterdam, everything seemed to me overpriced. I was not able to cross the street because of bikes. I was complaining about the weather. And the most famous sight was the sign IamAmsterdam.

Amsterdam

Tourist things

Well, maybe I exaggerated. There are few funny interesting things to do:

Canal cruise. I was craving to have a canal cruise! Unfortunately, we had it during the hottest day and it was more suffering than joy. Although, normally, it can be a nice option what to do. Taking a ride in the boat, eating and watching the canals sounds attractive to me. They usually sell tickets from 11 to 16 euros for the basic ride.

House of Ann Frank. This place is quite crazy for me. When I went to Amsterdam for the first time I was just watching someplace that was full of people. Totally. Every time when we passed the place, there was a long line. I wanted to know what is inside. I was wondering why there are people no matter the time is. Then, I realized it was the house of Ann Frank. I still cannot believe it but whenever I pass by, I just see many people there. I heard that there is a possibility to book a ticket in advance but I have never tried it. Actually, it is one of the places I would really love to see. I hope I will manage to do it. I have one year for it. Another thing is that when I was in France, the International Club organized one trip to Amsterdam. It was only a one day trip. My roommate Tanvi told me that she went inside the house with no reservation. I still don’t believe. She just fooled me. I don’t know how but she just claimed that she went there in the morning, she was waiting for twenty minutes and they went inside. I should definitely try it. Anyways, she told me it was an unforgettable experience and it is definitely worth going there.

Sign I amsterdam. I guess that it is the most famous place for tourists in Amsterdam and also the one you find on google if you search “Amsterdam”. I have to admit I love this whole place. There is a big square with three museums, sign, fountain and famous Rijksmuseum. It is same as Frank´s House because it is always crowded whenever you go there. I would say that it is impossible to take a picture with the sign with no other people. Since I arrived, nobody suggested to go there because it is definitely placed for tourists but when I was in Amsterdam for the first time I wanted to go there for sure. The letters are nice and I am always into these types of things.

Amsterdam

Coffeeshops. Another type of fun is coffee shops. If you walk through the streets in Amsterdam, you will easily find them. I am not against it at all and I also went there but there are few weird things about them. I don’t like the smell which is everywhere near the coffeeshops. Last time, I went running and I went through the city center and I thought I would die. It was so uncomfortable to smell it everywhere. If you go inside, I don’t think it looks attractive. There are just people totally high – out of mind – sitting (almost sleeping or lying) everywhere and you cannot even see through the fog. I was shocked that they have a big book (menu) with a lot of products from cakes to smoothies. But as I already described my nightmare about my experience with space cake, I hope I will never try it again! Nevertheless, it impressed me. They also have different types of weed – according to the mood you want to have. Well, I have to admit that there is something nice about it. I just hate when someone says that it is impossible to study in Amsterdam. Of course, it is – as in every city. The fact that you can smoke weed wherever you want to does not mean we will do it every day. At least I hope so. Another funny thing that happened to me – once we just went to meet our friends to one coffee shop and we wanted to have a coffee there. Maybe you would not believe me but they did not want to sell us the coffee without buying weed! I could not believe it. In addition, there is a prohibition to drink alcohol there.

Museums

If you love museums you have a lot of places to go to in Amsterdam! I am not a big fan of art but there are cool places to see. Amsterdam has around 400 museums! It is a crazy number. I will summarize 10 top choices.

Rijksmuseum. I already mentioned this one because the place is really famous with the sign. I have not been to this museum but I am planning to go there. There are many Dutch arts in this museum. You can also find there the national print library. The building is part of the UNESCO heritage. You can visit the gardens for free. There is also a café where you can have many drinks or something to eat.

Van Gogh Museum. According to the name of this museum, it is clear that you can find there many works by Van Gogh. Besides, there are also many works by painter´s friends, followers or contemporaries. There are many activities - art events, guided tours, lectures of historians or researchers.

NEMO Science Museum. I really like this whole complex that looks like a boat and you have a really nice view of the whole Amsterdam from it. There are many seats where you can have a coffee or something to eat. Moreover, it is just on the opposite side of the river from our place. Except for café, garden and fountains, there is also a science museum. It contains five floors of exhibitions and they say it is the largest science center in the Netherlands. Moreover, it is the fifth most visited museum in the Netherlands. The first floor is devoted to DNA experiments. I think it is definitely worth going there.

FOAM. Foam is Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam where you can find many world-famous photographies. There are many arts by video and multimedia artists. FOAM has its own magazine also. It is not only museum because they also organize a lot of extra activities such as free guided tours, discussions, lectures, radio shows and so on.

Stedelijk Museum. This museum is famous for its modern and contemporary art. They say that it is the biggest rival of the Centre Pompidou. I have been only to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and I liked it a lot – especially the modern art. That´s why I should also visit this one to compare them. There are more than 90 000 works focused mainly on impressionism.

Eye. I have been to this museum and I liked it so much! Eye museum or Film museum. There is a lot of information about cinematic history for film fans. What´s more, you can even sit there and watch the movie in a special digital booth. In addition, there are a lot of film memorabilia and art. The museum is located near to the water and there is a café and a restaurant.

Anne Frank House. I already mentioned this place earlier. Anne Franke House is a house that is dedicated to Jewish diarist Anne Frank. The house is located in the city center, near the canals in the area called Prinsengracht. In short, Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who hid from Nazis during the second World War with her family and four other people in the 17thcentury. Unfortunately, she did not survive the war but she was writing a diary that was later published. The museum was opened in 1960. My friend told me that visiting the museum can be quite emotional. It is about the life of Anne Franke and it includes an exhibition of persecution and discrimination. It was the third most visited museum in the Netherlands and it had 1. 2 million visitors in 2013.

Tropenmuseum. This museum is about ethnographic and it also includes modern art focused on Music, Dance and Theatre. I have never been there but they say it is one of the top ones.

Dappermarkt. There are many markets in Amsterdam. The one is really close to Waterlooplein where they usually sell bikes and you can also buy there a lot of old things or smoothies. Another market we found is Dappermarket. It is quite close to our university and it is really nice! They were selling mainly clothes, vegetable and fruit. In addition, they also had smoothies. I was surprised that there was a big difference in prices! You could have a big mango for 0, 75 euros, avocado for 50 cents, raspberries for 1 euro, melon for 1 euro and they had many more offers. It was really cheap in comparison to what you can buy in the normal supermarket! I think that it is really a good deal to go there for fresh vegetable and fruit. Besides this, they also have a lot of markets during the year, the flea market included.

Amsterdam

Living in Amsterdam

I think I can already say that Amsterdam is really international student city and the city center is quite small. You can even walk everywhere but with bike, it is easier.

Parks. There are a lot of parks for hanging out or having a picnic. I like them a lot. There are a lot of people running or biking. I like the most Westerpark because it is quite big, so it is convenient for running. In summer weather, people organize there a lot of barbecues and picnics. Another famous park is Vondelpark. It is the closest one to our school. It is funny that there was set a Guinness Book Record for the biggest picnic in the world with 433 people. Besides these, there are many other parks but they are smaller. I am just not happy that near to my place there is no park close by for running because I was used to going running a lot. Since Amsterdam is really flat it is convenient for running but we are living near to the Central Station which is in a very city center and it is crazy to get through the centre that is full of people. That´s why for me, the only option is to take a bike to the park and go running there.

Amsterdam

Coffeeshops and RedLight District. I don’t like when people just say that we chose Amsterdam only because of smoking weed or Red Light District. In fact, we don’t go often to the area of RedLight District. For me it is quite weird to see women only in underwear. I don’t like it at all and on the other side, I don’t care much. I already talked about coffeeeshops. I am just sometimes annoyed by the smell that is everywhere in the city centre.

Biking. Amsterdam is really famous for its bikes. The city is all flat and the main thing is that they have special roads for bikes everywhere. There are no spots for borrowing the bikes as it is for example in London that you could just pay some fee and then you could take a bike because everybody already has his own bike. When I went to Amsterdam for the first time I was quite confused and I did not like being surrounded by bikes but I am already used to it. When we came here, we did not know where to buy a bike. Firstly, we went to the second-hand shop but the prices started at 100 euros. Therefore, we went to the Waterlooplein and we just bought a bike there. We could choose if we wanted to have a bike with guarantee or without. The difference was 10 euros. We naturally had to bike the locker also because it is well-known that a lot of people steal bikes in Amsterdam. I already heard many stories that someone´s bike just got stolen or it was broken. They say it is a normal thing. I don’t like it.

Amsterdam

Restaurants and bars

I was amazed that all the bars and restaurants are really small in Amsterdam. It is a big difference if I compare them to the ones in the Czech Republic. Sometimes we have restaurants with three floors in Prague and there are many people working but in Amsterdam, there are small cozy places to eat. They also have a garden often even though the weather is not usually nice. I find it really nice. You just have small tables and the atmosphere is nice. It was just different for me because I was used to working as a waitress but here it is connected and a person works as a waitress and bartender at the same time. Since prices are really high in comparison to the Czech Republic I don’t go often to eat in the restaurant. Anyways, I mentioned a few places I went to recently:

Café Walvis. This café was are favorite with David. We went there once by accident just to have a beer and then when we saw that they were serving nachos, we tried them. They were delicious! Even though I was working in a Spanish restaurant where we had a lot of types of nachos, these nachos were the best ones. They served them with cheddar cheese, meat, sauce and on the top of them, there were sour cream and guacamole. This guacamole was completely different. It was all warm. I would die to have this nachos! We normally shared them in two and they cost 7 euros. Unfortunately, they don’t have it anymore. Once, we went there to celebrate something and we were so disappointed when we found out that they don’t have it anymore. Instead, they served chorizo queso or something. It sounded amazing because it was supposed to be chorizo (I love it) and melted cheese. Although when they brought it, it was too melted and in few minutes it was totally hard to eat. We had to find another place for nachos.

Filter. At the market, David found out that he is accepted to his new job! It was amazing news because he has been looking for a job in Amsterdam since June. I wished him the best and I was happy to hear that it went well! As a celebration, we went to the nearest café called Filter. I like how restaurants, bars and café look in Amsterdam. They sometimes look that tables are located randomly in the room and instead of chairs they often have pillows, armchairs or just piece of wood. This one was similar. They had quite old tables there and there were many things on the shelves. Normally, they also have board games to borrow or they sell coffee beans. We decided to try their cakes. They had banana bread and few other cakes. David chose the chocolate one and I chose lemon one with strawberry. It was nice but the chocolate cake was too sweet for me. Later on, we decided to go there to buy coffee beans but they did not have the one for our Moca kettle.

Amsterdam

White Label. Next day we went to another coffee called White Label. It is the brand of coffee. This coffee place is amazing! I really like its hipster style. Tables and chairs are located also with no order. Sometimes you can sit on the box or on the pillows. There are big bottles with tap water and many board games to borrow. We already went there many times. This time I wanted to buy their coffee for our new Moca kettle. We chose one from Colombia. This time we did not buy any cakes but they also offered some there. We wanted to try one board game but the instructions were only in French and Dutch.

Vapiano. Last but not least important place we managed to try is called Vapiano. It is an Italian restaurant near my new accommodation and near the boat Nemo. It was not my first time going there. I already tried it once when Lilian came to Amsterdam to see me. We tried the pasta. This time I wanted to have pizza. They have a special system there. There are waiters and waitress but they don´t really take care of you. They just clean the plates and glasses and if you want to order anything you have to do it on your own at a special place. They have four main parts – for pasta, pizza, salads and desserts and bar. In the case of pasta, you just go there, you can choose the type of pasta, sauce, extra ingredients and you can watch how chefs make your food. In the case of pizza, you can also choose the pizza from the menu and extra ingredients. Then, you will get a special device with the number of your order. When the food is ready it will make a sound and it will get red. I liked it but since I was starving I was checking the device every minute. It took them less than 30 minutes to prepare the food.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

There are also many places to party. There is one square called Thorbeckeplein. We often go there because there is a student club Coco´s and there are many parties for students. Last night we discover an area called Lendsplein where you can find many clubs and places for having a party.

University of Amsterdam

The reason why I chose Amsterdam and Amsterdam´s University and my program is quite weird. If I could choose whatever city in Europe where to study my master program I would go to England or France. Especially, I would go to London. It was hard for me to decide which place is the best for me. Since I was in France while making a decision, I was craving to stay there. I could improve my French a lot and also I was happy there, in Lille. Later on, I realized that it is better to try another city and not to stay only in one place. Moreover, the scholarship was six times more expensive than the one in Amsterdam. Regarding London, I would have to take a loan to start studying there because it was crazily expensive. In general, if I compared the countries, England and France were too expensive. Then, there are not so many prestigious universities for Economics in Spain and in Italy. Since I don’t like the German language, I was not really thinking about Switzerland or Germany. Actually, once I considered studying in Frankfurt. My friend from Germany told me that they have really great Real Estate Finance program and he gave me a contact to someone who takes care of international students. When I talked to him, I found out that the school was also insanely expensive and they had a lot of requirement to accept students.

That´s how I ended up with the Netherlands. I think that the education in Holland has a high quality, people speak English and another advantage is that the master program is only one year instead of two. These three factors played an important role! Since the university was supposed to be better than Charles University, I realized it would be a challenge to study there. I was also happy that Dutch people can speak English. Even though many signs and websites are in Dutch, when you just say hello, people are used to switching into English really easily. Moreover, I found their accent pretty nice so far. Last but not least reason was that I could save one year while doing a master in the Netherlands. Of course I heard many opinions that it is not any advantage because people prefer studying longer than start working earlier. Nevertheless, I see it differently and I know that if I save one year of studying, I can travel for a whole year with no regrets. Also, I can do some internship or I can start another school. There are so many opportunities and the door is never closed. I can do whatever. I was just worried that the program would be intensive.

Then, I had to choose the city. Since I already visited Amsterdam many times I knew how it looked like. I also went to Maastricht and Utrecht but I preferred Amsterdam because I like living in a big city. Moreover, Amsterdam is small anyways even though it is a capital city. When I searched more, I found out that Real Estate Finance track is only in Amsterdam. In addition, we have a special agreement between the University of Amsterdam and Charles University, which means that we don’t have to do a GMAT. It is a huge advantage. I saw these tests and they can be tricky because it is on time and all in English. It was really convenient for me not to do it because when I applied to Amsterdam I was on exchange in France and I could not imagine doing IELTS test, GMAT test and writing my bachelor thesis. I just don’t like that we have to start with our thesis really soon (in December I guess).

So far, I like the University except for the fact that all arrangements and appointments are annoying. It took the bank two weeks to send me my card. We still have not received our student card and I don’t even want to talk about the City Hall appointment. The building is new and it is so nice. There is even river among the buildings. I also like that the semester is divided into three trimesters and our schedule is different every week. At least we don’t have any stereotype. They also organized many events and they have a lot of organizations. There is a special place called CREA where you can play some instrument or play the theatre. In addition, there is a big library, student restaurant and print place.

Amsterdam

The weather

I would like to mention weather because it plays a big role if you consider living in Amsterdam. It is famous for rainy, cold, winter weather. I don’t want to complain at all because since we came to Amsterdam, the weather was awesome! It was around 30 degrees every day and we could enjoy sunshine and wear skirts and dresses. Nevertheless, I remember that when I went to Amsterdam last year I was quite not happy about the weather. It is so annoying to bike in raining. Although the winter should not be too cold as in the Czech Republic. Moreover, I already experienced one semester in Lille where rains almost every day and it was not so bad in the end. Except for the fact that I got sick many times, we found a way how to enjoy our time there anyways. I hope it will be same here. Hopefully, I will take an advantage of rainy weather and I will study hard.

Conclusion

I guess that my description was so detailed that you don’t want to know more about studying in Amsterdam. I just wanted to say that from hate I started to like Amsterdam a lot. I am not saying it is the best city in the world. I prefer Paris and London for sure. Although it is a great option to live, study or work in this city. It is a really alive and vibrant city. People are nice here in general and there is always something happening here.

Amsterdam

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Amsterdam's Botanic Gardens

Published by Ella Bailey — 19 days ago

A little haven within walking distance from the city centre, beautiful in the spring/summertime whether it's to explore the gardens or just read a book on one of the benches outside. The café is really nice and has some gluten free options, a pleasant surprise. Entrance is five euros for students.


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