For a journalism assignment I carried out an interview on the reality and the expectations of Amsterdam and thought I would share it with you. Without further ado, here it is!
Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities in Europe, attracting approximately 6.7 million visitors yearly according to Holland.Com. The city is known for its famous ‘Red Light District’ and ‘Coffee shops’ as well as rich culture, which entices the tourists visiting the city. A University Student Charlotte Page explored the city over the span of a couple of days to consider the expectations and the reality of the city. In her interview, Page highlighted the differences in what she expected of Amsterdam based on its stereotypes such as marijuana being obtained easily as it is legal, compared to the reality she witnessed during her time spent in the city.
Page began explaining the basics of her trip: “I went to Amsterdam this year in February, with one of my friends from University, and we went for three days”. She expressed her surprise at the time it took to get to Amsterdam: “We flew, it took us 40 minutes which was surprising. It takes me 40 minutes to drive to uni, it just makes me think you can go anywhere.”
Charlotte, began by explaining what she expected of the city: “Amsterdam has a reputation for its drug scene with it being legal there and the Red Light District with prostitutes, it’s got a bit of a negative reputation”. However she said “It’s what makes Amsterdam unique”. Although, this seemed a bit daunting and intimidating she stated: “People often look negatively upon it so I thought there’s only one way to see if that’s true”. Page described herself as curious and looking for adventure: “I’ve never been to Amsterdam before, I’m about new adventure, and I’m always hearing and seeing things about Amsterdam, especially with its reputation”. She proceeded expressing that: “I wanted to see it for myself, see if Amsterdam is all what is seems”. She also added, in an amused manner: “I expected the drugs and the prostitution to be in your face, everyone to be high”.
When asked about the planning process of the trip, she said: “We planned what we would do each day as we were going for a short time.” Alternatively, as well as having a plan she explained the importance of wandering: “When I went to Hong Kong, it was good to get lost because you see so much more. You stumble upon things you wouldn’t even had noticed. It’s more fulfilling.”
When it came to describing the reality that Charlotte experienced it was quite different from the expectations: “I don’t think they’re accurate [stereotypes] they’re all exaggerated. It’s all hyped up a little bit to entice tourists. She described her experience visiting a ‘coffee shop’: “It was like a normal coffee shop but everyone was just smoking weed. It was almost underground, you have to look for them.” She added: “These stereotypes don’t define Amsterdam, there’s a lot more to it. The prostitute are only in one place, same as coffee shops”. She did say that her initial response to the Red Light District was shock: “It was shocking to see women on display”. Page went on further to give her perspective of Amsterdam, saying: “it’s a shame that Amsterdam is defined by things such as the Red Light District, there’s so much more”.
Charlotte also visited several museums such as Van Gough Museum, the Tulip Museum and the Anne Frank house. She explained her feelings toward these city attractions: “The museums were better than what I expected.” The culture of the city for Page was enriching and refreshing. She particularly enjoyed the Anne Frank House: “it was one of my favourites. It’s quite a personal thing when you’re inside, you feel this connection. It’s quite sad. I was surprised that a museum can play on your emotions.”
To summarise Page gave three words to describe Amsterdam before her trip: “Promiscuous, mysterious, unique”. To contrast, she gave three words after her trip to the city: “Refreshing, compelling, relaxed”
I would like to thank my interviewee Charlotte, you can check out her blog here.
That is all for today, I hope you enjoyed a different kind of post.