As you know, yesterday I posted the first article to this 4 part travel series (Amsterdam & Belgium trip). The post was quite long, so I couldn't fit everything about Amsterdam in one blog. This post is all about the tips and more recommendations when you travel to this beautiful city. And yes, there will be lots of photographs!
I come from a Dutch family, so I am very used to the customs and mannerisms of the citizens of the Netherlands. Many people find that when they go to any place in The Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam some people can be 'rude'. This is however not the case. The Dutch are very liberal. They don't take shit from anyone, and they don't stand for racism, sexism or prejudice/ discrimination against sexuality/ gender. This is what I actually love most about Dutch people, their open mindedness and non judgemental mentality on the whole. They speak their mind, but they never mean it in a rude way. I think they really rely on honesty is the best policy, and often that's good because what you see is what you get. I distinctly remember getting on a tram on our third day in the city and not knowing where it went. We asked the tram operator as we boarded, and he said "Well then you must be a bit stupid, hey?" with a long laugh at the end and a thick accent. Now maybe someone else may have been offended, but with my heritage I just laughed it off because I knew he wasn't serious. What I'm trying to say is, don't be offended by what they say and don't be afraid to play along. Once you let go of a (possibly) pretentious attitude you'll realise the Dutch are actually the most wonderful, fun people.
(they say it in english with thick accents to anything that they find pleasing), and if you want to order a sandwich, you will say "Kan ik een botterham krijgen?" (which translates to Can I please get a butter-ham?).
I also can’t speak about The Netherlands without mentioning their cuisine. Most of it is mouth watering and amazing. Poffertjes (translated: little puffers) are a traditional street food which is to die for. They use pancake mix and throw it in a buttered pan with small hollows. The pancake mix puffs up in the hollows, hence the name. The poffertjes are rolled in poeder suiker traditionally (powdered sugar), but they are even better with Nutella! Another obvious one is cheese, unless you are allergic to cheese, or are a vegan; I consider it a sin to come to THE cheese nation and not buy at least a pack of real dutch cheese to with everything and anything! Their Emmentaler cheese is really good, and if you are in Gouda (the town) you have to buy some gouda cheese. Paling is a european eel, which is often smoked and sold whole at food markets. It is considered a delicacy, and although I wasn’t brave enough to try it, I’ve heard it’s good. I imagine it’s quite salty due to the smoking.
Surprisingly, for such a usually cold country, there are also lots of ice-cream shops, which are pretty good. You also must try bitterballen or croquettes if you are in The Netherlands. This is one of my favourite foods. Traditionally pulled beef is used along with potatoes, coriander and other spices. This mix is mushed together and rolled in egg and then spiced bread crumbs. Bitterballen are in a ball shape, and croquettes are in a sausage shape, but they’re the same thing. They are so good, and you can even find ones with goopy dutch cheese inside! Yum! Stroopwaffels are the ultimate Dutch treat- a biscuity soft sweet thing, pressed with a waffle press and containing caramel inside. You can find these in most shops. Hagelslag is a chocolate sprinkle the Dutch put on their sandwiches, toast or croissants and it’s also available at most supermarkets in Amsterdam. Specials is an all spice cinnamon biscuit, which is usually shape with a traditional dutch picture. You also get it in the spread form- Spekuloos which is better than Nutella (yes it’s possible), especially the crunchy spread version! Rook worst (smoked sausage), Drop (salted liquorice), beer and frites (hot chips with mayo) are also traditional and really good!
I hope you all enjoyed this post and stay tuned for the next part in the series: Belgium.
Until the next time
-The Traveling Oyster xxx