Message from Amsterdam, Netherlands during the COVID-19 pandemic

I noticed that in this time of isolation, social distancing and the travel restrictions I tend to read travel articles more than ever, and I am not the only one, according to my blog site stats. Even though we cannot travel now due to COVID-19 pandemic, we can still dream and hope that one day all this will be over and that we will travel again in order to visit our favorite destinations. So now it is the best time to get informed, make the planing and to do day dream traveling around the world through the travel articles and vlogs, since we have plenty of time for this nowadays.

This pandemic is not going to last forever. Life will get back to normal again, we just need to be patient, stay at home, stay safe and positive. People need to understand that nowadays every person can make an impact and safe lives, since as much as we all avoid social contacts, and as much as we all stay safe in our home we are contributing to curve flattening and stopping the virus spreading. Flattening the curve means that less people will be infected, hospitals will be less crowded, therefore more lives will be saved.

Muiderslot castle Muiden The Netherlands

Due my love for travel and the work I do, I was a person that really traveled a lot. You are welcome to check the ”Beautiful destinations” category on my blog to get informed about a lot of interesting places I had visited in the past.

Gaasperplas Amsterdam The Netherlands

I decided to write a travel article about Amsterdam, after a few of my blog followers asked for it. I dedicate this article to all of you who wish to learn more about this beautiful city and perhaps to visit it yourself when all this challenging pandemic is over.

Gaasperplas Amsterdam The Netherlands

Amsterdam is an awesome city, worth visiting. I live in Amsterdam for almost a decade. Therefore, I can tell you a lot about the city, its people and its surroundings. You are welcome to check a few more articles regarding this topic in ”My Amsterdam” category.

Amsterdam in general is beautiful, unique and lively and you should definitely visit this city at least once in your life, if you still haven’t.

Amsterdam is a city of freedom and joy. Once you arrive at the Schiphol Airport and you go outside, please turn your head toward the Airport building. The first thing you are going to notice is the shiny sign that say: ”Enjoy, now is the time.” I like that message very much. It reflects the Dutch culture in the best way. It also reflects the vibrant and joyful culture of Amsterdam in general. In other words, this message encourages everyone to enjoy every minute of their life as much as they can, because we don’t live once, we live every day and we should do our best to make that living joyful, especially now in the time of isolation. There is no point to be anxious and there is no benefit to it for anyone. We should all do our best to enjoy our lives as much as we can even in the home isolation. We can accomplish this by finding the joy in a little and simple things, that matter the most. Remember that there is always something to be grateful for. Open your heart to embrace your life and your reality as it is.

So, when life come to normal again and whenever you decide to visit Amsterdam, regardless of the time of the year I am sure that you are going to enjoy every minute of it. The city lies on 165 canals. There are beautiful historic buildings and picturesque bridges (over 1,200 actually) everywhere you lay your eyes on.

In the city of Amsterdam you can find a lot of museums and galleries, but also the world famous red-light district. The red light district is the most famous sight of Amsterdam that you can visit for free. It is also called pleasure district, and it is located in urban area of the city center. In other words it is a center of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc. It can be very crowded though, especially in the evening hours and on weekends.

The famous coffeeshops are the most iconic spots of Amsterdam. Please don’t mistake the term ”coffeeshop” for cafeteria. Coffeeshop is a place where you can purchase cannabis. It is still legal in Amsterdam, but it can only be bought from certified distributors. If you don’t know how to roll a joint you can even buy ready rolled joints in there. There are a lot of souvenir shops that also sell cannabis and magic mushrooms related products. Please never buy any kind of drugs from the street dealers it is illegal and very dangerous. There have been several cases of intentional drug poisoning in the city over the past few years, that mainly targeted tourists.

Regarding the city dress code, you are welcome as you are. You can wear whatever it pleases you, nobody is going to find you crazy. Because the city of Amsterdam is famous for the freedom of expression and great respect for diversity.

Amsterdam is well known for it’s bicycle culture. If you don’t know how to ride one, please don’t rent any and try to learn it here. It could be very dangerous for you and for others. It is also extremely dangerous to walk and taking selfies on the cycling paths. Check my little guide for tourists in Amsterdam to learn more about this topic.

In general the city is quite safe, and you can see a lot of police and surveillance cameras on the streets in the city center. Of course you need to be aware of pick pockets if you are at crowded places as everywhere else.

About 18.5 million tourists visited Amsterdam last year. That’s not a small number for a city of 830,000 residents. It is one of the Europe’s most popular destinations. Did you know that Amsterdam actually has more canals than Venice? There are a lot of organized canal tours from where you can see the city from a different angle and take amazing photos and videos. You can also admire thousands of boat houses, where a lot of people actually live. If you are lucky enough you might manage to rent one and to experience this different way of living on a boat.

Don’t be surprised if you find your hotel room very small. If you want to live like a true Amsterdamer for a while, you have to get use to the limited space and narrow stairs.

Kalverstraat is very busy shopping street of Amsterdam. If you take a walk from the Amsterdam Central Station, through the Nieuwendijk Street, you have about 2.5 kilometers of shopping fun before you arrive at Muntplein and the famous floating flower market. The shops are usually open every day from 10:00 to 19:00 and sometimes even longer.

Dam square is quite a big square, located in front of the Royal Palace. There are a lot of restaurants and cafeterias around. The King of Netherlands does not live in that palace, he lives in The Hague.  Most of the year, the Palace is open for visitors. It is usually open from 10:00 – 18:00, and in the summer from 10:00 – 20:00. If you visit Amsterdam in January then you can enjoy the celebration of National tulip day at Dam square in front of the Royal Palace.

Around the Museum square you will find the most famous museums of Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Moco Museum, Diamond Museum and the Heineken Experience is also near by. In my opinion one of the best hotels at the Museum quarter is definitely the Conservatorium Hotel.  

If you use the public transport in Amsterdam, without purchasing the ticket, be sure that you will be fined. The tickets are checked by conductors very often. They are entering always in groups. Two conductors per door. There is no way that you can escape. It is better to pay the ticket than to pay the fine that is much higher and get yourself embarrassed and pulled out of the bus or tram.

The only free public transport in Amsterdam are the ferries behind the Central station. They connect the city center with the northern part of Amsterdam for pedestrians and cyclists. All ferries are free of charge. The longest ride last about 20 minutes.

The most interesting ride is the one to the NDSM-Wharf. It will take you to a cultural hotspot and a vibrant artist community. There you can find variety of bars and restaurants. If you happen to be in Amsterdam on Sunday, you can visit the IJ-hallen flea market. It is one of the largest flea markets in Europe, where hundreds of stalls hawk everything from clothes, shoes, accessories, to kitchen supplies, memorabilia, etc.

An interesting hot-spot is also Westerpark. The vibrant neighborhood with variety of things to see and do. The Sunday Market Westergas  is an interesting place to visit among the others. Westerpark is one of Amsterdam’s most exciting culinary hot-spots, with restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets.

When it comes to markets and shopping the Pijp is definitely the spot that you should visit. It is a location of famous Albert Cuyp Market, two breweries and dozens of excellent restaurants. The market is in the vicinity of the Heineken Experience museum, that is one of the tourists favorite spots.

The biggest celebration of Amsterdam is definitely taking place on the King’s birthday. It is every year on 27 April (the celebration is canceled for the first time this year 2020, due the COVID-19 pandemic, since all gatherings of 3 or more people are prohibited in the Netherlands until June 1). If you are planning to visit Amsterdam on King’s day in the future when the pandemic is over, than make sure that you have some orange outfit to wear. So that you can blend with the moving orange crowd. The King’s day is the biggest party you can ever experience on the streets of Amsterdam. If you are not a party person, then avoid visiting the city around the King’s day, because the entire city center is turned into a big stage with loud music in almost every corner, accompanied with the dancing and drinking crowd dressed in orange. The hotels and B&B’s always increases accommodation prices during the King’s day celebration.

I can go on and on about Amsterdam, but you need to visit the city yourself in order to feel the real atmosphere and the vibrant city vibe. When you finally arrive, don’t forget to put a rain coat in your bag. In Amsterdam you never know when is going to rain and due to frequent wind, the umbrellas are not the best option. Put some comfortable walking shoes when you arrive and explore yourself in and around this unique, charming and amazing European city, with the most welcoming, warm and smiley people.

There are many options for accommodation in the city. Check the link to explore all the choices, prices, reviews, photos and availability for your desired dates.

Enjoy, now is the time! Is the message on the Amsterdam Schiphol airport written many years before the COVID-19 outbreak and is still shining bright. That message from the city of freedom and joy is still accurate even during this pandemic. There is no point to be constantly anxious. We should all try to enjoy our lives as much as we can in isolation. We need to find the joy in a little and simple things, that matter the most. There is always something to be grateful for. Embrace and accept your life as it is. Enjoy the snugness of your home. The time is come when each one of us can make the impact and safe lives while staying home. This way we are all contributing to curve flattening and stopping the virus spreading. Flattening the curve means that less people will be infected, hospitals will be less crowded and more lives will be saved. I hope that this message of hope and love from Amsterdam will find you strong, healthy and positive. I love you all, stay home, stay safe!

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