Thursday, June 20, 2013

Amsterdam Walking Tour: Day 16: Sunday June 16, 2013

It was our first official day at Amsterdam. The breakfast at Stayokay Hostel in Amsterdam exceeds my expectation and far better than what we had at Paris and Brussels. After breakfast, we had a meeting with the faculty and then break up to different classes for information about the week schedule.
Dr. V. advised us to go for the Amsterdam free walking tour for the day. Since the tour was organized by same company as that of the Paris free walking tour, I was expecting a very much interesting tour round the city of Amsterdam with highlights of important places to visit during our stay. My tour guide is a young lady I will call the “Happy Lady” because she is super excited telling us about the history of the city as we walk round different historical site. 

We started the tour in front of the Dutch royal palace; pass through the famous red light district, the Jewish district and a couple of the “Coffee shop”. She narrated some of the history of coffee shop and it’s interesting that the Netherlands tolerated smoking of weeds. Also, police protect the prostitutes because it’s been legalized and they pay taxes like every normal business. One of the things that were also amazing to me is the structural design of the building in Amsterdam. Most of the buildings are leaning forward with a pulley system at the top. This allows them to move the merchandises or properties from the canal or outside to the building.
Dutch people are traditionally business minded and love money; which reflects in their early dominance in the European economy. We saw the Dutch East India Company called Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) which was the first multinational in the world. The Dutch made much money for their trade 17th century from this company due to its monopoly nature. The tour was very interesting, not only because I learnt so much about the Dutch history and culture within 3 hours but I also met a new friend who is from Canada.