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I ? Amsterdam

I’m in Amsterdam for The Next Web conference, along with a number of other Americans. And we all can’t understand why Amsterdam is so often treated as a second-tier city for Americans visiting Europe. London, Paris, and Rome make it into the top tier. Amsterdam is to often an “if-we-have-time” city. Ridiculous.

Part of it is perhaps due to Amsterdam’s reputation for drugs and hookers. To this day if I say that I’m going to Amsterdam, people make the puffing on a joint gesture and grin. Now that it’s cheaper just to fly to Denver, maybe we’ll be spared the implication that Amsterdam’s main attraction is the opportunity to smoke weed. I smell more pot being smoked in Cambridge, Mass. than I do in Amsterdam.

There are many cities I love, but there is none I more look forward to visiting than Amsterdam.

It is physically a gorgeous city. Every corner there’s another sight you never want to forget.

It is big but walkable.

The museums are amazing. I spent a couple of hours in the Rijks Museum this afternoon and I’ll come back the next time I’m here and the time after that. If you love Van Gogh or Rembrandt or …

Rembrandt's The Jewish Bride

Frans Hals

But mainly there are the Dutch. They are great to do business with because they’re straightforward and rational. And they’re great to hang out with because they’re warm, funny, and a little bit crazy.

Then there’s the food. Well, let’s move on.

If you ask me for recommendations for cities to visit in Europe, Amsterdam will be in the topmost cluster without a doubt.

Note: Today is King’s Day. The entire population is out on the streets, wearing orange, eating various fried foods, drinking beer, and enjoying being together. (I did all of those things except for the beer.) We don’t have days like this in America. And altough it’s not exactly my idea of fun, it’s fun watching the Dutch have fun.

amsterdam text sculpture

King's Day crowd

King's Day bozos

[6:30pm: The street festival has turned into an all-city frat party. That's a lot of drunken people.]

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More Stories By David Weinberger

David is the author of JOHO the blog ( He is an independent marketing consultant and a frequent speaker at various conferences. "All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about. Put differently: All I'll hide are the irrelevancies."

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