Amsterdam Travel Diaries: Day Two

Monday, 24 April 2017

Hello!! This is Day 2 of my Amsterdam trip. I had such a good day and I learned A LOT of things. So today I'll tell you most of those things and share some of the pictures I took around the city. I certainly hope it isn’t too boring to read and that you enjoy it. 

On Friday 7th, we woke up early and picked up our Vidcon badges at the convention centre (it was right in front of our hotel). Once we got our badges we went to take the tram but at that moment we saw Evan Edinger and we spent 5min deciding whether or not we should go say hi. By the time we decided to go he was already inside the convention centre and we just waited outside for a while. We didn’t see him so we just went back to the tram stop and went straight to Dam square. At 11 am we had another free walking tour so was basically our morning sorted.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE learning about the history and interesting facts of the place I’m visiting. So I’m gonna share a few of these with you. I mean we spent 3 hours walking around Amsterdam for something, may as well just share what I learned and not just pictures of pretty houses and canals!!!
The first few minutes of the tour we saw the same things we’d seen on Thursday on the other tour. However, some things that this guide told us were new to us. Apparently the Dutch are very stubborn people so when they settled into the Netherlands and everything was flooded, instead of moving somewhere else they all worked together to move the water; hence why they have all these canals. And that also may be one of the reasons why they’re very united as a community.

Their society is built on tolerance. They were actually the first to legalize prostitution and same-sex marriage. And legalizing prostitution was great for sex workers because they are independent business people and it’s much safer for them to do it this way. However, what’s not legal is marihuana. Yes, you can have it if you want to in coffee shops (don’t confuse them with caf├ęs) but it’s not legal. This is when our tour guide introduced to us the 3 Dutch principles one must know: something might be illegal but if 1. it’s good for business, 2. it doesn’t harm anyone and 3. plausible deniability, you can go ahead and do it anyway.
We also visited a secret garden called the Begijnhof. It’s an inner court with a church and a bunch of buildings surrounding it and it is a very calm place. Only women are allowed to live there and no man can visit after 8pm. This has something to do with its past and the Beguines. Right after seeing that beautiful place we walked through an art gallery and then stopped in front of the Amsterdam Museum where we learned some more historical facts. I’m gonna put these on a list because it’s easier to understand.
  • When the Spanish king wanted them to persecute Protestants, they all turned into protestants just to piss him off.
  • King Louis of France became their first king and he organised a celebration and the first thing he wanted to say in Dutch was ‘I am your king’ but instead said ‘I am your rabbit’. That’s why they called him rabbit king and didn’t take him seriously, at all. He also brought last names into the Netherlands but Dutch people thought it was silly and registered themselves with names like ‘little balls of poo’ or ‘blowjob giver’ because they thought last names would disappear after the French left but in fact, some of these last names still exist nowadays. So, you know, if you meet someone Dutch and they don’t want to tell you their last name, it’s probably because of this.
  • They changed the carrots’ colour from an ugly weird brown colour to orange because of William of Orange, who led the rebellion against the Spanish king. He is also the reason why the national colour is orange.
  • They are probably the only country to voluntarily become a monarchy when they were a republic first.
We then had a 15min break in a bar that was saved for us all. To be honest, we only wanted wifi to check twitter and that’s when we saw the Skam season 4 trailer (EXCITIIING!! Do any of you watch skam??). Before continuing with the tour our tour guide made sure we were all there and called my friend and I: ‘the tiny Spanish girls’ which is a pretty accurate description of us, we are VERY short. It’s been two weeks and I still laugh about it, yes.

We kept walking along pretty streets until we stopped in front of a canal. There he told us that canals have 3 layers: water, mud, and bicycles. According to our guide, 18k bikes are found every year in the canals. They fix those bikes and sell them to Amsterdam habitants aka they recycle them (GET IIIIT? Our tour guide was a funny guy lol). And he also told us about traffic rules, which are basically non-existent, they are more like suggestions. Seriously, you can expect anything. Bikes will NEVER stop to let you cross, trams maybe and cars probably will. Honestly, just be careful about the bikes, I almost got hit once. But still, it’s a good city to walk around, like the streets aren’t your usual streets if you know what I mean? At least not the streets I’m used to anyway. It’s just very nice and I love that there aren’t many cars around. It makes it a bit more peaceful.
Lastly, we walked around the Nine Streets district until we arrived at a church, the Westerkerk. But more specifically we stopped on the Homomonument, which is a memorial for everyone that’s been subjected to prosecution because of homosexuality. It’s a big triangle on the floor that has three other triangles aligned: one for the past, one for the present and one for the future. One is on the water, one is on land and it’s higher than the others and the other one is at street level (which is the one we were standing on). The one on the water points towards the National War Memorial on Dam Square and it’s a symbol to remember people of what shouldn’t happen again. The one we were standing on is the present one and it points towards Anne Frank’s house because it’s the most famous story about hiding. The other one, the one that’s higher, is the future one and it’s to know that there’s a brighter future. I can’t remember where it points towards though, sorry.

I just think it was very nice to end the tour there because he said that Amsterdam and the Netherlands, in general, are a very tolerant and accepting country and that everyone is welcome there. No matter their beliefs, sexuality or whatever, people can always go there if they aren’t accepted in their own country for any reason.
After this, we decided to go have some pancakes at ‘Pancakes Amsterdam’ near Amsterdam Centraal station. I mean after 3 hours walking around Amsterdam we thought we deserved it. If you love pancakes you definitely need to go there. It may be a bit expensive but they were worth the money. Plus, everything in Amsterdam is expensive so there’s that.

Then we took the tram to the museum area (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, the Moco…). Sadly, we didn’t go inside any of them but we took some photos and then went to Vondelpaark. Believe me when I say we walked the park from one end to the other. Does this count as exercise? Because damn. It was worth it though; the park is so beautiful. Also, some girls stopped us and told us if we wanted to be in a youtube video. We said yes and reacted to Harry Styles’ song which came out that day. I was so awkward but it was nice talking to them about music and youtubers.

After visiting the park, we just went back to our hotel, rested for a while and headed back to the center to see the city at night. Just as beautiful and full of life as earlier. We walked from Dam square to Rembrandtplein, a square that has a Rembrandt statue and sculptures that represent The Night Watch aka Rembrandt’s most famous painting. After walking around the square we just took the tram back to our hotel. We bought some food at the supermarket then headed to our room and called it a night. I still don't know how I was able to sleep because I was very nervous about what the next two days would hold. I'll be posting all about Vidcon in the next post or two!!

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Do you like learning about the history of the places you visit?
Anna x
UPDATE: there's also day onemy vidcon experience and a photo diary if you want more!

2 comments

  1. I'm so jealous you got to go to Vidcon and Amsterdam! It sounds like you had a fab time! The history facts were so interesting! haha x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

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    Replies
    1. aah please don't be! Yeah it was great :) Hahah I'm glad they weren't boring! :)
      Anna x

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