1 year in Amsterdam | 5 things I’ve learnt
1. Your bike will be stolen
Mine lasted less than 24 hours before being swiped. Not bad 😂
Here are two suggestions to ensure your bike lasts longer than a day. If (like me) you’re buying a second-hand bike from Amsterdam’s flea market Waterlooplein, make sure you spend more on your lock than your bike.
Second, consider buying a Van Moof smart bike. They may be expensive — starting off at €1,098+ but you’ll get GSM anti-theft tracking. Would-be thieves stay clear of Van Moof bikes, but if it does get stolen:
“…our team of ruthless Bike Hunters will track it down. If we can’t recover it for you within two weeks, we’ll replace it.” Van Moof
2. The food is world-class
I listed my favourite food spots in April and I’ve only just scratched the surface of what Amsterdam has to offer.
From incredible Mexican food, vegan delicacies, stacked pancakes, fresh seafood and everything in between, the city is harshly overlooked when it comes to eating out.
3. Opportunities are on the up
More and more companies are moving their HQ’s to Amsterdam. Only recently the European Medicines Agency voted to move it’s operations to the Dutch capital from London’s Canary Wharf.
The city is attractive to businesses for a number of reasons. There are 170m consumers within a 500km radius, 95% of people speak English here, the quality of life is below only Switzerland compared to other Western European countries and the cost of living remains low.
In Amsterdam itself the creative sector is thriving. The city has a long entrepreneurial and innovative history that is still alive today. The city’s convenient location and international inhabitants make it an ideal place for startups to flourish.
“From AI to VR, Amsterdam is a launching pad for many EU test markets” Matt Burgess WIRED
4. The Dutch say it as it is
“I try to avoid asking a Dutch audience for criticism after my workshops; the experience is much the same as being machine-gunned.” Fons Trompenaars, Author
Direct or rude? There’s no doubt, for a British expat living abroad Dutch directness can come as a shock. After a few months, their no nonsense straight talking quips are a breath of fresh air. It’s a time saver in the office as you know where people actually stand and you can all get on with your jobs.
5. The beaches are top-notch
White sandy beaches aren’t necessarily the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking about Amsterdam. But a short train or car ride away are some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The majority of them are unspoilt, quiet and surrounded by huge sand dunes waiting to be explored. Worth a visit are Bloemendaal aan zee, Bergen aan zee and up in the north, Texel.
The city also has a number of ‘urban beaches’ if there’s no time to escape. Plek in the north is only a short ferry ride from Centraal station. Complete with giant bean bags, it’s own beach and a great lunch menu, some feel you don’t need to travel all that far to enjoy the sand between your toes.