Downtown Amsterdam - photos by Shady Hartshorne
and Laurie Ellis
Feel the Gezellig in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is all about gezellig and the constant pursuit of gezellig-ness.
A gezellig environment is one which allows good times to happen. In
youth-speak, it's almost like a vibe.
A relaxing dinner with friends
is gezellig, fast-food in your car, while waiting in traffic, is not.
Perhaps that's why this Dutch city gets under your skin and refuses
to budge. Yet, Amsterdam is ever-evolving. Here's a brief look at what's
Flocking to Floriade
Just outside Amsterdam, near Schiphol airport, millions are flocking
to Floriade. Floriade has been called
the Olympics of horticulture and for a good reason. The event requires
such in-depth planning it only happens once every ten years. They have
a greenhouse the size of four soccer fields, and oodles of flowers--it's
You need not be a serious posy person to take pleasure from Floriade.
National and international exhibitors working side-by-side, have created
more than 300 exceptional displays.
No warring factions here; everyone
gets along just fine, whether they're from Russia, China, Kenya or wherever.
The bright yellow of The Roof, the largest solar array of its kind in
the world, can be seen from miles around. Special bus transportation
has been arranged for the exhibition, which opened in April. Allow at
least three hours for Floriade and wear your walking shoes. Food is
available on site. Check out www.floriade.com.
Boom Chicago continues to keep 'em rolling in the aisles, nine years
running. Their newest show, "Europe: We've Created A Monster"
is a funny and technologically dazzling exploration of what it means
to be European.
Using live cameras, video, internet and other
high tech gadgets, this is the show that's been invited to perform at
Pleasance One, the most prestigious venue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
this August. Boom Chicago performs six nights a week and Europe: We've
Created A Monster is performed every Wednesday and Thursday at 8:15
and Saturday at 7:30 and 10:45. Dinner is available and highly recommended,
(but not required), before the show. Book in advance, because they are
often sold out.
At the new Amsterdam Miracle, you can witness the history of this city
in under an hour; a crash course you might say. The audiovisual presentation
can be experienced at the Pompoen (pumpkin) Theatre seven days a week.
Those who have seen both, claim Miracle is a much better "attraction"
movie than Holland Experience 3D. It's in English and you'll learn something
while being agreeably entertained. The computer generated effects give
depth and substance to the historical photos, which all ages will appreciate.
The Pompoen theatre is located at Spuistraat 2, just a five minute walk
from Central Station. In addition, they have live jazz in their cafe,
after night falls.
Flower market in Amsterdam. Photo by Shady Hartshorne.
Coffee shops in Amsterdam used to be dark and foreboding places where
you wouldn't want to bring a date. But you don't have to smoke pot with
shady characters of the underworld anymore. Recently a number of bright
and airy coffee shops have opened with friendly staffs, pool tables
and unique tunes.
Rookies Cannabis Cafe
One such place is Rookies Cannabis Cafe, a coffee shop and hotel just
off the Leidse-plein. Outside they've got tables so you can watch the
passing pageant of map-touting tourists, while you smoke. Inside there's
a pool table and a liquor license. If rolling joints is too European
for you, they'll even let you borrow a pipe from the bar. Open weekdays
from 10:00 am to 1:00 am and Friday and Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 am.
In 2012 the Floriade will take place in Regio Venlo - the region of the Dutch town of Venlo.
Check our listing for budget hotels in Amsterdam
Check our listings for discount flights to Amsterdam.
Lemmon writes from Bloomington Indiana.