MY FIRST 5 MONTHS IN AMSTERDAM AS EXPAT
Since we moved here, last Christmas 2019, the question I am asked most often is: so how is live in the Dutch capital? What do you recommend to see when we can travel?
But we are still in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, and here in the Netherlands, still in Lockdown since the day we arrived but at least now finally no more curfew.
So, in the meantime, I can only try to tell you about MY AMSTERDAM in these first 5 months.
Where do I start?
Once accepted my boyfriend’s new Dutch job offer together, we started looking for a house in Amsterdam for rent on FUNDA, the Dutch site (equivalent to the Italian Immobiliare.com). After a very short time, we were able to find the house we were looking for, from florence, of the size and position we wanted (east inside the RING), already furnished, visiting it in FACETIME with the agent and signing the contract online (considering that the agency here is paid only by the owner, that the contract was only for one year and that we could terminate the contract with only one month’s notice).
And when we arrived on Christmas Eve, we were at our house.
But I would like to underline a detail: I have been told and repeated several times that we were lucky to find it immediately. The house is large and bright, and average in prices. While usually in a normal situation, there are very long queues to see any apartment.
A separate discussion is that of houses for sale, even in a pandemic, which I do not enter now.
So what can we or can’t we do?
– We can go outside and cycle or walk without a mask and for no real reason, as long as we are 1.5m away from each other. But Amsterdam is neither Hong Kong nor the crowded city that everyone remembers, so it’s easy to stay away from others and go out to train, walk or spend some time outdoors;
– Instead, you must wear the mandatory mask for closed places and all public transport;
– The essential services have always remained normally opened: supermarkets, food shops, bicycle shops, florists and coffee shops while the clothes, hairdressers and beauticians shops have reopened a month ago, with a reduced capacity;
– You can order the delivery or go get a take away from the restaurants that are open (yes, because many are still closed and since October) and since last week some terraces have reopened, but only until 18.00.
Nevertheless, we are fine, and for this I am very grateful, but above all I already love this city for a few reasons.
In fact, in three months I have already been able to see:
– The snow in the city first in February and in April (alternating with the sun, the rain, the wind, the blue sky… the typical Dutch spring, everyone told me);
– The frozen canals and the people ice skating in mid-February … omg! Very beautiful! I had also tried to rent them but without success, they had ended up all over the place of course;
– The cherry blossom, really similar to the Japanese Kyoto, in Bloesempark, with its 400 Japanese cherry trees, donated by the Japanese women’s association to the city of amsterdam, in Amsterdamse Bos (the Amsterdam forest in the south of the city) ;
– The cherry blossom in Westerpark (where there are about 40 trees), a park to the west but in the city center inside the ring.
– The beginning of the blooming of tulips, in the fields of Lisse, just 30 minutes by car from Amsterdam (car that can be rented when needed among the different rental services that exist: green wheel, red wheel, sixty … because in general, the bike is enough to live in the city).
In addition to these reasons:
– I love getting lost among the canals, in the center on foot, in the Jordan district above all but also in the PJP;
– I love to go around the city by bicycle, which in size is really small, and for this reason it reminds me a lot of Florence (a means that practically did not exist in Hong Kong and I was missing) Only the snow and ice stopped me. But in general it is great to see that the city is full of cycle paths and people who cycle around it.
– I love flowers and the local culture of flowers, so much so that florists have always been considered essential services. And for this, I have already settled in: there is never a shortage of tulips on the table that I buy once every two weeks (the important thing is that the buds are completely closed, that the tips are cut every two days and that they keep in very little water) .
– I also love the fact that you can easily turn around and do anything in English , language that everyone and I mean everyone speaks. Of course, it is all written in Dutch, but that’s what google translate is for! I am now an expert!
Where to eat?
For now, I would like to recommend only these few places, tried to take away or as home delivery:
-The best applet art (her majesty) in amsterdam- “Winkel 43”
– A very good Indian (we love oriental cuisine) – “Dutch Dabbawala“
– A great Lebanese (we love oriental cuisine) – “D&a Hummus Bistro“
– An excellent Vegan Restaurant (the best tiramisu ever) – “Mr & Mrs. Watson (vegan) – east“
– An excellent coffee – “Lourens 1952“
– Excellent dark and white chocolate cookies from “Van Stapele”. The detail? They’ve only been a guy since 2013, and when they run out they close the shop, holding a sign saying they’re sold out for that day.
– The best “Stroopwafel” in the city at the Albert cuypmarket, the largest in Europe, as well as Hummus lovers, will find the best there, at “twin Olives“.
In the meantime, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me and if you want to see more photos and videos from the Dutch capital, follow me on Instagram @veronicasorace.
I wait for you!
Here you soon,