By Candra George, Third Year English Literature
The Croft Magazine//This year’s Eurovision 2020 contest being hosted in Rotterdam provides a good chance to focus on all things Dutch. Whilst Britain never seems to be successful in this musical showcase of talents, it remains an opportunity to celebrate the multiculturalism and the talents from countries other than our own.
The Netherlands also offers great holiday and travel destinations from Amsterdam to The Hague, and it was the inspiration for my first post-A-Levels holiday without my parents. I ventured off to Amsterdam with my boyfriend, and this is what I got up to...
Up, up and away: Nightlife
For those adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers, the A’Dam Lookout is an activity for your bucket list, offering Europe’s highest swing allowing you to view the entire city’s skyline. I visited during the morning to avoid a large queue, however the swing offers some beautiful views at night when the city truly springs to life!
For those looking for more of a party atmosphere, a great place to start your night out is the city’s Ice Bar where you get to sample some Dutch Heineken beer, as well as some free that come with your ticket. Amsterdam is also famous for its cafés and coffee shops, like the ‘Bulldog’ franchise which can be found throughout the city centre. It is important to remember that drug use is not permitted outside of these places.
Furthermore, Amsterdam health authorities have launched a campaign to warn tourists about the dangers of buying drugs in the city. Find out more on that here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/netherlands.
Most importantly, if you will be spending time partying in the city, make sure you stick with your mates through apps such as Whatsapp ‘check ins’ and ‘Find my Friends’ for Apple users.
Amsterdam is boasts some of the country’s best cultural spots and sites. Some of the most famous are the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh museum – so you don’t miss out like I did, it’s best to book your tickets in advance. Other great museums are the Rijksmuseum, hosting has lots of iconic pieces of art.
For the more adventurous tourists who are interested in Amsterdam’s Red Light District history, there is the Venustempel Sex Museum which exhibits erotic photos, paintings and statues.
Food and drink
Back in 2017, before being a Bristol student and taking the plunge into veganism, I had a great time sampling the rich and decadent Dutch delicacies (a lot of cheese) and desserts. Forget cheesy fries from the local kebab shop, the Dutch serve thick-cut loaded fries with a variety of toppings from onions and mayonnaise to peanut satay and spicy sauce.
For those interested in dessert, Amsterdam is a great spot for bakeries and patisseries with generous dollops of fresh whipped cream and ladles of melted chocolate sauce. Stroopwafels are delicious caramel wafer sandwiches balanced on a cup of tea that melts the sugary goodness.
Pancake day reminded me of ‘poffertjes’ which are small fluffy cloud-like pancakes served in most dessert shops in the city, often with icing sugar and maple syrup.
When I wasn’t spending my time trying out the local food, I enjoyed renting bikes and exploring the city for myself, instead of always using the trams to travel. Thanks to this, I ended up discovering the hidden parks the city has to offer. Vondelpark is an idyllic haven right in the centre of the city and is a nice flat cycle route.
If you are looking for even more of a workout, rent a pedal boat so that you can experience the canals for yourself. This was truly a quad-burner, even though I didn’t do my share of pedalling…
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Featured: Epigram / Candra George
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