Longing to visit Amsterdam and its coffeeshops again? We know – we’d like to get back in touch too. Let’s hope it won’t be long… In the meantime, we felt it was time to paint you a picture of Amsterdam under lockdown.
I was wondering about the doves the other day. What the hell would they be thinking right now? Hopping around on a deserted dam square, in front of FEBO fast food joints waiting for fries to drop from the heavens above. “Where are all these douchebags working around the clock for our buffet meals?’’ No wrappers drowned in mayonnaise, no half-eaten waffles, no vomit in front of the coffeeshops. Nothing.
Will they even recognize a tree, know about worms or small insects living in the dirt, and how to find their way back?
Do we know how to find our way back? And what about the doves and us: have we ever seen the city like this?
The dying sound of trolley cases
Last year Amsterdam saw just under 17 million tourists paying a visit. To give that some context, our whole country has 17 million people as well…
In a survey held under tourists visiting the Singel and Red Light District between the ages of 18 and 35 years old, 57 percent claimed coffeeshops played an important role in their choice to visit the city.
Biking through the center of Amsterdam on a sunny day, could be a tricky ride, certainly when you’re always in a hurry, like myself. Bars and terraces full of life. People and tourists everywhere moving along to the rattling sound of trolley cases. (Yes. I’m aware of the fact that tourists are people as well). Tourists are just not used to seemingly traffic free streets, dominated by bikes. Another thing is that Dutch cyclists move as silent and fast as a samurai on a hunt.
I’ve always loved apocalyptic movies growing up. These endless narratives of zombie invasions or whatever Armageddon situation have their unique charm. They turn the world as we know it into dust, and pedestrian walks to an instant danger zone.
Apart from the thrill and horror of these scenarios, they also secretly fulfilled me with a sense of longing. Not so much a longing for the zombies or the crazy virus to hit me, but a longing for something to happen. Something larger than life that would just stop this ever going turning wheel from turning, for once. I guess we can compare it to the longing of a kid for the school to flood, so he doesn’t have to go. I guess I never really grew over the sense to see our society as the school I’m forced to attend.
We can easily play pretend the strike of a zombie apocalypse now in the center of Amsterdam under lockdown, if we forget the drama that lingers behind it. The sorrow and struggle of financial problems in the city. And the break out of the economic crisis – and hunger – all over the world due to this lockdown. Forget the struggle on the flooded Intensive Cares all over the world.
The empty streets of Amsterdam
It’s eerie at first sight, all the silent and empty streets of Amsterdam that once were so lively. The wrinkle-free surface of the canals, dark bars only filled with stacked up chairs, empty windows, open curtains on the Red Light district, the confused pigeons.
But it reveals an essence that lies in life itself, that tragedy and beauty walk along side by side. They both exist at the same time, all the time. And they always will.
There is no denying that there is something breathtaking about the city now, as if we travelled over a hundred years back in time. And Amsterdam was given back to Amsterdam again, and we can witness her full beauty, with no distraction. Like visiting a museum after closing time and just being there; just you and the masterpiece.