Reflect,
Recover,
Restore

Starting over in a new place can be a thrill — and a reality check. Some move for better prospects, others for the romance. For Alexandra and me, we chose Amsterdam to be our new home simply because here we can love who we want and be who we want to be.

Being in Amsterdam has provided us with the space to reflect, recover, and restore. We’re very thankful for the opportunity to draw lessons from this city that helped us to gain a new perspective, grow, and live and let live. So here are 5 reasons why we love living in Amsterdam so damn much.

#1 - Freedom

“The monumentality of Amsterdam lies in the mentality of the people.”

 

– Geert Mak, Dutch Journalist

In his book, “Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City”, Geert Mak wrote the above quote. Man, does it ring true! Unlike cities like Rome with its magnificent architecture, Paris and Eiffel Tower, London and Big Ben, Amsterdam is a city with no one iconic building to boast of.

The monumentality of Amsterdam truly lies in the mindset of its people. The open-mindedness and tolerance of the Dutch are the results of banding together to overcome calamity from the get-go.

Since we both came to be ourselves, this is a BIG one. Amsterdam’s undoubtedly one of the most liberal cities in the world.

MORE THAN WORDS

These are just some examples of the famous Dutch tolerance. It’s inked in our DNA. “Live and let live” is like that washed-out motivational poster in a dreary 90s office — frequently quoted, occasionally fleshed out. In our experience, Amsterdam is a city that embodies this mentality. Be whoever you wanna be — on one golden condition — do not disturb your neighbour.

#2 - Diversity

As of 2021, folks from 176 countries reside in Amsterdam. The world has 196 nations, so we’re just twenty short of global domination. We hear different languages and dialects every day. We see We’re part of a rich tapestry of culture in our shared home.

A WORLD OF FLAVOURS

Amsterdam’s open-minded stance and an open-door policy make it the perfect recipe for a melting pot that is great for many things, like… food! From Ethiopian to Afghan, Surinamese to Sichuan, we’re spoilt for choice here, especially in our beloved neighbourhood, Jordaan. Especially because Singapore’s cuisine is incomparable, this variety here allows me (Rachael) to indulge in new cuisines and flavours previously unknown to me. And for that, we’re majorly *burp* thankful.

#3 - Amsterdam's a Cosmopolitan Village

Amsterdam is lovingly coined a cosmopolitan village by locals. And if you wonder why, listen to this. New York City is 2,9 times bigger than the entire Netherlands. With just over one million inhabitants and under an hour to zip across the city, Amsterdam is minuscule compared to other metropolitan titans like London, Paris, and yes, New York City.

SIZE MATTERS

Flat as a pancake. That’s the Netherlands for ya. Thanks to the absence of dominating skyscrapers, Amsterdam is like a picture-perfect village. Throw in the unmistakable soundtrack of “trings trings” — enter the cyclists. Yes, we have more bikes than people. Cars are considered guests here. Speaking of, even the automobiles are ultra-mini here! All these make Amsterdam a bonafide global city with a touch of tiny town, which brings us to the next point.

#4 - Gezellig

If you only learned one Dutch word, it’s “gezellig” (pronounced heh-SELL-ick with a gutteral “G”). There’s no direct English translation, but the closest one is cozy. But it sure as hell is worlds apart from the Scandinavian sentiment “hygge” — think one wrapped up in a woollen cardigan and matching thick socks, with a matcha and a Bob Ross autobiography in hand, lounging flat-out by the fireplace. “Gezelligheid” is like the extraverted cousin of “hygge” a la the joy of connecting with others. Having beers with friends at a local pub is “gezellig”. Eating a Whopper in your car alone is not. Get it?

STRANGER DANGER WHAT?

Here in Amsterdam, it’s common for strangers to smile and say “hello” on the streets. It’s truly refreshing, especially in today’s eyes-glued-to-screen era (Did we mention both Alexandra and I met on a tram?). It feels good to be seen, albeit briefly.

It trickles down to casual conversations at a bar with someone. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with Amsterdammers. Especially over a cold one. Trust us, it’s almost, always “gezellig”.

#5 - Be Normal

“Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg.”

 

– Old Dutch saying, meaning: Act normal, that’s strange enough

Growing up in Singapore in the 1990s, we were encouraged to pursue the 5C’s. Cash. Credit card. Condo. Car. And Country Club membership. Though times have changed, cash remains king there.

BRAGGING GETS YOU NOWHERE

In Amsterdam, wealth does not make a person better or more important. In short, bragging is not part of the culture here. Just be normal! A Tesla doesn’t make you better. Nor that holiday in the Maldives! Amsterdammers are genuinely happy for anyone who’s found success. But trust us, no one’s going to roll out the red carpet anytime soon. Be normal!

It trickles down to casual conversations at a bar with someone. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with Amsterdammers. Especially over a cold one. Trust us, it’s almost, always “gezellig”.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it —  our 5 reasons why living in Amsterdam is special to us. Of course, this city has its imperfections. But Amsterdam has always been an open place for us to fully be ourselves unapologetically. We’ve learned a ton from our fellow Amsterdammers — to speak up, be hands-on, creative, and embrace differences and work with them. We love our cosmopolitan village and we feel damn grateful to be here every day. And we’re proud to share our home with you.

Feel inspired?

Let us know when you come over. Mail us for our Award-Winning Private Walking Tour, sit down at the Gay monument with our Goodie food Box or take the DIY Food tour. Or simply browse through our selection of Finest Original Experiences.

Red Light: Stripped
Red Light: Stripped

Uncover its naked truths — virtually

Those Dam Boat Guys
Those Dam Boat Guys

No better way to float

Einstein Bike Tour
Einstein Bike Tour

Bike like a genius

Amsterdam DIY Foodie Tour
Amsterdam DIY Foodie Tour

Eat, walk, repeat— without skipping a beat

Amsterdam Countryside Tours
Amsterdam Countryside Tours

Explore beyond the canals and cobblerstone

A’dam Good Foodie Box
A’dam Good Foodie Box

Amsterdam’s first food tour in a box – delivered right to your doorstep

The Hungry Birds
The Hungry Birds

Amsterdam’s flyest food tour

Black Bikes Amsterdam
Black Bikes Amsterdam

Handcrafted Dutch bikes for rent

Slow-Travel Tour
Slow-Travel Tour

Know the people, live the city. An exclusive private walking experience.

Hello Amsterdam Walking Tour
Hello Amsterdam Walking Tour

Get the essence of Amsterdam in 2 hours.

More to Read, Watch & Enjoy