Amsterdam for a Weekend

Guest Post By: Finance Senior Drew Glass. He is a Foster Undergraduate participating on Foster Exchange at Bocconi University for Fall Semester 2018.

Of the places I’ve traveled so far, Amsterdam was the location I connected to the most. Part of my instant fondness for Amsterdam might be because it makes me feel like I’m back in Seattle, but the city can clearly stand on its own as an amazing tourist spot even without PNW nostalgia. While I noticed I didn’t specifically run into a lot of people our age (coincidence I guess), the city has a very strong youthful energy. The city’s energy is even more interesting given that the architecture still has a classic Dutch look rather than what you’d expect of a fairly modern city. After spending 3 days in Amsterdam I have 3 small (but key) pieces of advice for any UW travelers who are eyeing Holland.

Get The Fries

The Amsterdam Fries are well known and, while some of the shops may be overpriced and average, they are amazing. They hold their own fame for a reason. Its honestly slightly surprising that America hasn’t adopted this food given our love for delicious food at the sacrifice of too many calories. My first experience with them was hiding under an overhand to avoid the rain while I used the tiny fry fork to get one in my mouth at a time. The fries are bundles together in a cone and then drizzled over with the sauces that you ask for at the window. Sauces include mayo, ketchup, curry, pesto mayo, onion mayo, and plenty of others that I sadly didn’t have the time, money, nor stomach capacity to enjoy.

Do Not Walk In The Bike Lanes

If you thought Seattle bicyclists got upset with you for being in their way, you do not want to mess with the Dutch. Instead of getting yelled at you will receive very upset looks and some very aggressive bell ringing. Nothing makes you feel worse than an old Dutch lady giving you a disappointed expression.

In all seriousness, the walkways, the bike lanes, and the roads all coexist and for an American you can find yourself walking onto the bike lane as it can look like a walkway. Do your best to make sure you know where you are supposed to be walking, especially on roads you’re not as familiar with and aren’t as “touristy.”

Plan Activities Well Ahead Of Time

I prefer to take a hands-off approach to travelling and just go where the wind takes me. However, sometimes you do need to plan ahead and figure our when and where you’re doing certain activities. Amsterdam has some extremely unique places to visit that require ticket purchases ahead of time and you should prepare to plan for getting them if you wish to go.

On our trip there were two locations we wanted to visit that we couldn’t because we didn’t get tickets early enough: Anne Frank’s house and the Van Gogh museum. Anne Frank’s house in particular requires you to get tickets ahead of time. Van Gogh isn’t as difficult to plan for, but if you do it at the very last second like us you will find yourself visiting the Banksy museum instead (which was fun, but not the same).

My time in Amsterdam has convinced me that it should be on everyone’s shortlist for places to visit if you’re able. I would even suggest that people seriously look into it for study abroad itself, a great city with ease of travel throughout Europe thanks to Schiphol Airport.