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From Europe, With Love: 12 Reasons To Avoid Amsterdam At All Costs

I finally picked up my Dutch residence permit last week, but I’ve been feeling like I belong in this country for a while. I have officially been living and studying in the Netherlands for almost three months now. Despite taking trips and transferring trains across the continent, I feel a sense of security and a hint of home in the charming city of Amsterdam. With that being said, I feel like I’m qualified to warn you about the dangers that come with the territory. A trip to Amsterdam doesn’t come without risks, especially if you plan on staying here for an extended period of time. So take it from me, here are 12 reasons that you should probably avoid Amsterdam at all costs:

1. There’s a much higher chance of drowning.

With over 100 km of canals and 1500 bridges in the city of Amsterdam, the chances of getting drunk and taking a dip in the canal are higher than you would care to believe.

2. You might have to learn something.

The Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Rijkmuseum, and Anne Frank Huis are just a few institutions Amsterdam has to offer. With all these world-class museums, you’re going to HAVE to use your noggin. Gross.

3. Picnicking in Vondelpark leads to sunburns and laziness.

The most famous park in the Netherlands, Vondelpark, boasts playgrounds, ponds, and open-air theatres. This place is terrible because you’re going to want to picnic (with wine and fatty foods), you’re going to soak up too much sun, you’re never going to want to leave, and we all know that gluttony and sloth are sins.

4. You will gain a few pounds.

From the croquettes to the bitterballen to the potatoes to the beer, it’s like the Dutch are just trying to give each other heart attacks. I’m still trying to figure out how Europeans have lower obesity rates than North Americans despite the fries and mayo you can find at every corner.

5. It’s completely discriminatory to the lactose intolerant.

It’s hard to walk down the cobblestone streets without running into a Dutch cheese shop. Most provide samples of their innumerable varieties, and the lactose intolerant will be tempted and out of luck. Rude.

6. All the orange on King’s Day will hurt your eyes. 

April 27th, better known as King’s Day, is like a drunken Christmas morning for Amsterdammers and tourists alike.  Orange is the colour of the Dutch Royal Family, and it’s donned from head to toe. It’s not flattering on everyone, so you should probably avoid the whole city on this boring, boring day.

7. Your allergies may act up.

Tulips were first imported into the Netherlands in the 16th century, and the country has been deemed “the flower shop of the world” ever since. The Dutch sure love these bright and beautiful blossoms, and there are festivals and fields of the pollen-producing pests ready to get the allergy-challenged sniffling.

8. Chances are you’ll get into a bike accident.

I can now check “ride in the back of a Dutch ambulance” off my bucket list after escorting a friend to the hospital post-bike accident last month. Amsterdam is the most biker-friendly city in the entire world, but I personally have fallen twice – stone-cold sober, I might add – and it could happen to you too.

9. Too many stroopwaffels can lead to a caramel-induced coma.

You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten warm stroopwaffel in Amsterdam, aka two soft waffle wafers stuck together with gooey caramel syrup. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with cravings and down a few before going back to bed. They’re terrible in that they’re so addictive, and too much sugar can kill you, you know.

10. You will always feel underdressed.

Those damn Dutch are so stylish that they’ll make your Canadian casual look less than cute. They’re tall, they’re blonde, and they’ll make you feel flawed in comparison. It’s probably best for your self-confidence that you avoid this perfectly pretty place.

11.You’ll meet incredible people and have to say goodbye.

Both locals and ex-pats alike are some of the kindest, most inspiring people you will ever meet. I didn’t think there was anywhere else in the world with citizens as kind as Canadians, but I think I’ve found the place where they’re pretty damn close. Goodbyes suck, and I know they’re going to be even rougher here.

12.You will never want to go home.

I know I speak for many when I say that it doesn’t take long for Amsterdam to feel like home. It’s far too easy to grow attached to the simplicity of the everyday: the people who you come to call family, the places you pass every morning on your walk to school, and the things you’ve done that create the memories you won’t soon forget. When it comes time to hop on that flight back home, you know you’ll be nostalgic for the rest of your life. It’s rough to know that it’s all downhill from here, so you might as well just stay away in the first place. 

It’s risky business coming to the city of sin in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Your stomach and heart may be at serious risk. So if you’ve been thinking of planning a trip to Amsterdam in the near future, be my guest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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