In the 17th century, when Amsterdam's economy was booming and the city's harbour was one of the most significant ones in Europe, many warehouses were built in newly constructed areas; areas that not rarely were built upon artificial islands at the bank of the IJ-water, conventiently close to where ships from far away embarked.
Now, in the 21st century, the warehouses have been converted into luxurious residences, facilitated with all the commodities that modern man needs. I guess it won't surprise you that one requirement to live in such an old warehouse is a certain degree of wealthiness!
A less 'artistic' photo this time, of the only snackbar in this city I know of that sells a meal originating from the rival town of Rotterdam: kapsalon (Dutch for 'hair salon'). You might wonder, why is a meal called 'hair salon'? It has something to do with the context in which the meal (which consists of chips, shoarma-meat, salad, cheese and garlic sauce all together; not very sophisticated, but 'good in a gross way') was developed: in a snackbar like the one on the photo, but this one was next to a hair salon, who's owner (the hairdresser) always asked for this particular dish around lunchtime!
Snackbars are only to be found in The Netherlands. Even if in another country a place is called 'snackbar', it doesn't come close to the kind of restaurant you see in this picture. Snackbars never close; if you're on your way home from a party at a time you're not even sure whether to call it night or already morning, the snackbar is there for you. They sell fast-food, but instead of burgers you can make a choice out of a variety of deepfried snacks. Just a grasp of the options presented to the hungry customar: kroket (in the variations rundvlees-, kalfs-, saté- or goulash-), frikadel (regular or speciaal), mexicano, berenhap, kaassoufflé, nasischijf, bamibal, kipkorn, and ever since the Turkish/Arabian immigrants took over the places, there's also the possibility to order a Turkish pizza, shoarma or kebab. Chips and snacks can be eaten at one of the tables inside the snackbar, or they can be taken home in a white plastic bag without print. Fluorescent tubes make for an unforgettable ambience. The strips of green plastic 'grass' that seperate the different snacks from each other in their showcase, bring an esthetic touch to the whole. Meals rarely surpass the price of €4,-.
You can't say you've visited The Netherlands if you haven't been to a snackbar! ;)
On 07-07-2007, the new Central Library of Amsterdam was opened. In an area that is still being developed, each and every Amsterdammer (and even people from outside the city) can walk into this enormous building, and feel surrounded by books, books, and more books.
However, books aren't the only thing a visitor will find in the library. There are also (public) computers with internet, tables designed for studying (desk-lights and electricity for laptops included), there is an international newspaper and magazines-corner, there are exhibitions, comfortable arm-chairs that can be moved to and from the windows, a piano on the first floor that can be played at will, and on the top floor there's a restaurant, with a beautiful view over the city from a balcony/terrace.
I tend to go to the library a lot to study. It's absolutely in my top 5 of favourite places in Amsterdam.
And my favouritest corner of the entire building must be the one on the bonus photo:
Well in fact, I've been back for more than a month, but since my head was still full of Lisbon (where I spent a most lovely time) I couldn't really motivate myself to continue the promotion of my own city... This happens to me every time I go to the south!
Right now, however, my appreciation for Amsterdam has well returned, so I'm ready to pick up this Damsko Blog again. By means of a celebration, I post a picture I took a few days ago in the Westerpark. I don't know what the red balloon is about, but it was such a happy sight that I couldn't resist photographing it!
It's summer again, which means that the city almost overflows with tourists! Many of these foreign visitors are of rather young age and have only one real goal for their 2009 summer holidays: Getting High In Amsterdam.
The foreign potheads would usually ask the local-looking people (who are rarely to be seen inside the center during this time of the year): "Where can I find a coffeeshop?" (this often in broken English and with yet to be unpacked suitcases in their hands), which is a rather unnecessary question seeing the city is full of coffeeshops, of which none does any effort to hide itself from the public eye.
Once they found their coffeeshop and their first joint is being bought, they sit down in a park or (in this case) beside a canal, to smoke the miracle marihuana.
As the local people ride by on their bikes, on their way to an appointment or with bags full of groceries at the steer, they shake their heads and think: "Kids."