The most widely conceived reputation of the city of Amsterdam is the one built on the foundation of Liberalism, the Canals and Rembrandt and Van Gogh. For many, Amsterdam is a place where tourists come to smoke a joint (Dutchie) or take a peek at the Red Light District. Or to make a trip through the world-famous Canals and enjoy the paintings in the Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam has many faces, and its citizens have many backgrounds, from the real native Amsterdam accent speaking restaurant owner to the Surinam market salesman.
And so Amsterdam has become a place where so many unique backgrounds, cultures, interests, and lifestyles are constantly coming, going, and changing; all layered on top of one another. The widely differing and changing population of Amsterdam is what makes the city such a fantastic place for people watching. You can witness every brand of “fruit and nut” by traveling from Oud-Zuid to the Bijlmermeer, over the perfect lawns in Het Vondelpark, and past Albert Cuyp Market to The Pijp. But spend enough time in Amsterdam to find a niche for yourself amongst the city’s unique and varying residents, and you will know the best of what the city has to offer. This is something no photograph, movie, or sightseeing tour bus will gain you. To understand why this city has become an easy home for so many with disparate backgrounds, the city and its residents must be seen from the knowing eyes of an ‘Amsterdammer’.
'Ik Ben Amsterdam' (I Am Amsterdam) is a collection of first-hand experiences and stories from the personalities of Amsterdam – past and present.
Zino van Hamersveld