There should be a warning given to you before you come to Amsterdam. In big letters it should read: “Watch out for bikes”, but what’s an adventure without a little excitement? My time here in Amsterdam has been lovely, a tad chilly in the beginning, but you learn to love smelling the sweet baked goods as you walk past the rows of flower shops and canals. The streets are lined up with more bikes than cars and you learn to stay away from the bike path very quickly. The best thing about Amsterdam is walking down any street and finding something new around every turn.
While in Amsterdam I was studying drug policy. Amsterdam has one of if not the most unique drug policy programs in the world. While abroad, we got to see and talk to a local coffee shop, but not regular coffee, instead a place where you can purchase and smoke marijuana. For me, this was probably one of the most interesting tours we had gone to because I felt like that’s where we learned the most about drug policy and understanding what the policy really is. The policy leans towards the idea of tolerance where things are illegal, but tolerated. The population of criminals and drug users are treated so differently than in America. It was very nice to see a new perspective that seems to be working quite well. Maybe more action towards this method will be headed to the US soon.
A thing to bring with you to Amsterdam is a water bottle and fill it up whenever you can. Water, most of the time here was not free and neither was going to the bathroom. For me, that was one of the biggest differences while staying here in the Netherlands. Another surprising thing about the city was the diversity. The people here are not all Dutch. There seems to be a good population of multiple races and it shows in their food culture. A must try food are stroopwaffles, the big warm ones; ugh, delicious! Stroopwaffles are two thin waffles sandwiched with a carmel filling. Also, try their strawberries, pickled herring, and apple tart.
Amsterdam has been been full of adventures, but everyone has their own personal adventures. As we all are taking the same class, yet we all have different stories to tell, but this is my perspective. Amsterdam is a place for fried food, friends, and fun.