I love amsterdam

despite the short train ride and the similar language, the minute we got here i felt a huge difference from antwerp.
from a people-watching perspective, in antwerp they mastered layers, subtlety and minimal color to beautiful effect. also, the art of the scarf.
here, there is casual beauty, comfort without forsaking style and color. lots of color.

amsterdam is beautiful!
the buildings, the canals, the shops, the people, the food, the city - wonderful!


Anonymous said...

from your photos, antwerp looks like a beautiful mysterious woman. amsterdam looks like a bright, happy young girl.
beautiful shots.


GenX Theorist said...

Dag Editor,
You're in my childhood home. :) We lived in Amsterdam when I was little for 2 years, and go back frequently to see friends. Even though I'm mostly a California Valley Girl by cultural definition, I still feel that the strength of the happy Holland aesthetic is very much part of my personal style influence.

Have you walked by Viktor & Rolf's studio off the Museumplein yet?

It's so nice to see these fresh new photos - Gezellig!

Anonymous said...

Hi Editor, how completely cool you are in my birthplace :) My Friesland guests said that it has changed alot in the last few years...please be careful out there! Doe voorzichtig and goede reis! Midnight

editor said...

whoa - what on earth were the odds that 2 of you would have lived here?

genx theorist - how old were you when you left? i feel that i am being influenced heavily by my short visit here. we will come back.

midnight - when did you leave here? lucky you - multilingual! this is the first place in europe i've been to where truly everyone does speak english, and even happily and willingly. i always feel guilty traveling and not knowing the language. i understand a bit of german, but i don't stand a chance pronouncing the words correctly here. can you elaborate how they felt it has changed? it seems utterly safe. i'm not coming from a small town myself. ;)

GenX Theorist said...

This is amazing - I can't believe it either Midnight! Wow!

Let's see...my family was there from 1975 - 1978. My parents were determined to put me in real Dutch school, not the American Abroad school...so I went K- 2nd grade to the Nicholaas Maas school there in Amsterdam. I think they were considering staying there and raising me Dutch, but it didn't work out. I still have vivid memories of being in school there.

Then, we went back for a summer when I was 12, and then again for a summer when I was in college which was fabulous...to get to traverse the streets freely as a 19 year old. And then I went back with my partner in 1998. We have tons of family friends there which is so nice...always a place to stay.

My Mom's best friend, the one who is my style inspiration, lives right off the Museumplein in a beautiful flat. Midnight...our friends say that too though, that's it's changed and gotten more busy/dangerous. Editor's pictures still look like the Amsterdam I remember though. :)

I know how you feel leaving. I'm actually surprised that I've gotten to be 35 and have yet to go live in Holland by myself - it's always been part of my destiny. The right time has yet to come along, but I will go again for a much longer time.

I think, besides the gorgeous bright color that the Dutch are incredible at using in their design, the big style influence I feel from there is the concept of "Gezellig", the embracing of warmth and loveliness. There's no direct English translation of the word, it's really so different from the way Americans think about material possessions. Color and design and beauty are just so much more revered in day to day life.

editor said...

genx theorist, i hope you and midnight will elaborate here or email me about the concerns you heard expressed re. amsterdam. this was my first trip there and i loved it and felt utterly safe and comfortable, but i was there briefly. so i would be so so so interested in another, more informed impression. please share.
i am deeply jealous of you both for your connection to the area. i am going to have to create my own artificial one ;) because i felt such a strong connection.
the last part of what you wrote, genx theorist, it makes me miss it all the more. a very accurate way to describe what i sensed there and what i've always personally pursued. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Hi it's Midnight...sorry we were away a few days. Hoe gaat het ermee?

Editor, I am thrilled that you had such a wonderful time! It is a beautiful little country, isn't it? There are clusters of Dutch-Americans in parts of the US, perhaps you could find a Dutch store and enjoy some of the little (especially food) items you discovered. You can order lots of goodies from http://www.hollandsbest.com/ if you can't find something local. I think they are the best online retailer, haven't used them in a while b/c we have access to some stores here.

Genx, I agree the photos are of a gentle country, which is my memory also. My family emigrated when I was 5 so I started school here without the language. Funny thing, my Dutch is so fractured now it is embarrasing!

My parents still speak Dutch to me but I reply in English. This is probably b/c it was sink or swim when I was little. When our Fries guests came, the wife spoke little English so I HAD to speak only Dutch which was really fun.

I was really dismayed to hear their impression of Amsterdam. We lived in Kleine Wittenburg Straat in a little remodeled attic. I have heard how absoulutly wild Amsterdam (drugs, prostitution) is but to hear that it shouldn't be a destination, that few Dutch people actually live there anymore was sad. I joke around sometimes that I was born around the corner from the Red Light district but according to them it's ALL a Red light district!

Maybe this is similar to us thinking that New York or Los Angeles are dangerous. Of course there are areas that are bad but on the whole both are wonderful places to explore. I remember when a female cousin came to fulfill her dream of coming to America and all her friends were certain she was going to be the victim of a drive-by shooting (!)

We are in California (Genx, we may be close to each other...valley girl (?) so to them it was the WILD, WILD West, lol. She had a wonderful time and loved the friendliness of Americans.

Genx, you are overdue for another visit!!! I haven't been back recently but will probably go in the next few years. If I didn't despise flying so much I'd go more often. Xanax is my friend for plane trips but I can't stand the flat feeling of being drugged!

I don't have any relatives in Amsterdam anymore. They are all spread out in Hilversum. Leewaarden, Friesland and a few other places. I actually really want to go to Paris instead, one of my cousins is a fashion forecaster there :)

This is all so fun to talk about. Editor, thank you for sharing your trip, it has been a joy to hear about! I have to run....tot wederhoren!

editor said...

oh midnight, i hope you come back to check on the comments here. i'm from l.a., literally from "the valley", now on the east coast, and i've seen people totally freaked out when they're in the "big city" while i find it perfectly safe.
i am pretty sensitive to the activities associated with the red light district in amsterdam (prostitution), and would not at all have been as enamored had it been in my face. i saw one person rolling his pot in a car, a dozen or so people walked past puffing some, but nothing more. far far far less poor and degenerate sorts than i encounter in nyc. i never saw a single indication of prostitution - i really am extremely sensitive about it and i think it would have changed my feelings, but it was easy to avoid i guess and i felt like i could attribute the laxity regarding these activities to also the open-mindedness you could pick up on in the air. actually, more than open-minded, i would say it was almost an awareness of picking your battles. like "really? are we going to fuss and bother about something like this? let's get on with our lives and enjoy ourselves. be happy." i thought that too when i saw cars parking in the opposite direction of street traffic. unheard of in the US. but why really? big deal. i never saw so much as a near-miss as far as driving accidents go, yet here were people just sort of making up their own rules as they went along. but they were being careful enough as they did it.
every sales person and waitstaff i interacted with were locals, but i can't really speak to the majority of people. i am very very interested to know if i had a typical experience there or not.
i've been to france, england, italy, germany, switzerland, belgium, canada :p and the netherlands. no question about it, the last is my favorite. is it possible to be homesick for a place you've only visited once?
thank you for that site - i will check it out!