Study Break – Amsterdam, The Netherlands 0

Towards the end of March I was feeling like a break, it had to be somewhere close enough that I could just get to quickly for an extended weekend. So where better than Amsterdam right? And what makes it better is that a few of my Canadian mates are currently living there, it just had to be it! I jumped onto websites and started to find the best flight options, hotel & flights for a pretty sweet price!

2 weeks later I was off! London Heathrow to Schiphol airport, nearly the shortest flight I have ever taken! I even had time to get a Selfie with the pilot!  Once arrived in Amsterdam I dumped the bags and headed straight downtown to my mates house. Luckily they lived right around the corner from Leidseplein Square so it was close to all the main bars, cafes and nightlife.   After a few classic Heinekens, it was time to head out. What better way to see the city than with my mates’ Dutch housemates?  Within an hour I was already trying all this bar food such as ‘Bitterballen’, which was like a Dutch meatball that you dip in mustard, it was actually really good!

The following day was a pretty lazy day, but that would be expected right? Later in the afternoon it was time to visit Anne Franks House. The house itself is located further north of the city but still very close, around 20minute walk along the canal. Luckily we had pre-booked our tickets and walked straight in, the line up was crazy but would be expected. It was amazing to see the vast mix of cultures and nationalities who were wanting to visit, it really showed that no matter where in Europe or the rest of the world you were from, Anne’s diary impacted so many peoples lives. The house its self was like any other Dutch house, you would literally walk past it and not realize the importance of such a building. Within the house, it was so quiet. No one spoke; even small children didn’t make a sound. The atmosphere was something else. The entire house was empty, no furniture just museum boxes and display cases with stories and pictures of Anne’s life and upbringing. Later we were told that it was of Otto franks request that the house was not to be furnished and left empty, the reason for this I never did find out. After walking through the front of the house, it was time to climb the very steep stairs. Once you reached the top it was clear what laid ahead, the bookcase. The iconic picture of the bookcase secret entrance, to finally see it was astounding. Walking closer it became so real; I was actually entering the famous secret annex.   From this point onwards the visitors became very emotional, some with tears, shock and I will never forget the confused faces on the children.

For me, it was unbelievable that this was considered home for the Franks for just over 2 years. It is unimaginable what life was like for them, and this was the biggest take home message for others and myself. Here we were visiting and reflecting on a large period of history, yet we are able to leave at the end of the tour and continue living in our free and unrestricted lives. This was something Anne could only dream of and write about in her diary which brings us to the last part of the tour where you could see the originals. Overall, it was a very moving, interesting and informative experience and it’s a must see if you are in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam was an interesting place, a mix of new and old culture & history. The people were so friendly and having locals to show us around was a real benefit! Overall it is definitely worth a visit, although it may be cheap to fly and stay, I found it reasonably pricey for food & drinks!

All for now,   Happy Adventures!

Jonathan

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