"If you want things to get done in the Netherlands, you have to push, push and push hard!". The words of that Dutchman still resonate in my head. For the first time I understood that things are not easy peasy in this country as I romanticized for so long.
The huge amount of flower shops in Amsterdam epitomises not only the life-time relationship between the Netherlands and flora but also how keen Dutch people are to nurture a close relationship with the greens. But one shop, in my opinion, certainly stands out the most: Mooi Anders, an urban jungle that caught my attention since the very first time I passed by its doors.
After two weeks submerged in a story about the current terrible condition of bridges and quay walls in Amsterdam that I was commissioned to write for a distinguished magazine, I finally find respite and come back to firm soil. For days and nights this was all I could think, write and dream about. Such a time-consuming story that, once it was done, I felt empty.
It's likely common sense that Amsterdam is one of the world's most authentic cities in part because of its permissive approach towards cannabis use. However, despite all efforts to advertise uncountable wonderful qualities the Dutch nation has to offer, the Netherlands is far from being the country where people smoke weed the most.
It's quite a long time since the day when my future aspirations would be shaped to become my life's biggest dream. Looking back 10 years ago, I can still picture myself on that airplane; my wanderlust was in search of an exciting new journey to lead to the unknown. That was March 2011 when I visited Amsterdam for the first time. It was love at first sight. Madly.
The Netherlands is a shameless country where the inside of people’s houses is widely shared like an open book. The daily routine of families is unfolded to anybody’s curiosity: as long as somebody is paying attention to it. For the record, I am. This impulse of keeping a secret watch on their privacy is just something I cannot help. Can you?
The convenience of being in a small country is the facility of moving around within a couple of hours. Cities are close enough and allow us to explore the surrounds whilst we bring joy to ourselves facing new landscapes and fresh environments. In the Netherlands this proves to be right. Plus, we can get it all: beaches, hills, forests, urban life, medieval villages, and much more.
Even if you don't live in the Netherlands, it won't take long until you notice, when you visit the country, that the main vehicle used by its citizens is something much more than just a means of transport to go from A to B: it's a lifestyle, something so personal that ends up becoming a companion for life. It's part of what being Dutch means.
She is a cheerful and light soul and the driving force behind the longest-lasting coffee shop in Europe. For the last 22 years, Marie Louise Velder has been opening the doors of 't Zonnetje koffie thee en kruiden and welcoming clients who trust her curatorship to pour them a selection of the most refined assortment of coffee in Amsterdam.