Five things I love about Amsterdam

The Shallow Man has lived in Amsterdam for ten years now. People often ask me what are the things I really like about this city. This is a difficult question as there are so many things to love about living here, but here are five things that make it a joy to be an Amsterdam resident.

1. Innovative approaches to common health problems

Almost every EU member state has banned smoking in public bars to protect the health of employees and customers. In Amsterdam, the innovative and knowledgeable owners of many bars, have discovered that if they allow smoking after 11pm, it is not in the least bit detrimental to health. It’s wonderful in 2014, to still be able to visit a smoky bar and not have to worry about the effects of passive smoking. This is also great for my local dry cleaner, who gets a lot of extra business due to my clothes having the wonderful aroma of cigarettes after a night out.


2. Multitasking in Amsterdam

No one can multitask as well as people in Amsterdam. I see proof of this every day. People cycling, while texting, holding hands with other cyclists, or my personal favorite, passing through a red light while cycling, smoking and sending a text, all with a baby on the bike as well. Only in Amsterdam.


Taxi bike amsterdam

A safe way to cycle around town

Photo with thanks from the excellent vtnamus blog.

3. An Ugg for all seasons

Whether the sun is shining, or it’s a freezing cold day, you’ll never see so many ladies wearing Ugg boots as in Amsterdam. Indeed I have it on good authority that the people responsible for the Dutch dictionary are considering adding a new collective noun, an Ugg of Dutch women.

Ugg boots for Dutch girls a common sight in Amsterdam

Guess what nationality my visitors are

4. Brown shoes can be fashionable

I’ve never seen so many brown shoes as I have in Amsterdam.  As I stated in my book, the Amsterdam Confessions of a Shallow Man, “Dutch men and brown shoes, go together like drones and dead civilians”

5. Bring the noise

There is no greater pleasure than being in an Amsterdam eetcafe, and being sat next to a table of Dutch ladies whose common motto tends to be why speak when you can SHOUT as loud as possible. This and the other four items above are just some of the reasons why I love Amsterdam.


No Amsterdammers were hurt during the writing of this post