- Chaimae Chouba A.
A tribute to life in Amsterdam
Have you ever closed your eyes and imagined yourself in a safe city sitting on a bench next to a tranquil canal, surrounded by stunning architecture? Our student blogger, Chaimae, not only imagined this, but also experienced it firsthand, bringing you a vivid account as if you were right there with her. So, join her in this captivating journey through Mokum, where cherished experiences and memories surpass any type of fortune!
You may wonder what it feels like to live in Amsterdam, a city where there are more bikes than people and more bridges than in Venice, which would suggest the idea of colloquially calling the Italian city, the “Amsterdam of the South”. But that would be historically wrong, since Venice is about 854 years older than Amsterdam.
However, “Venice of the North” is just one of the many flattering nicknames of the Dutch capital. Another one that is often forgotten about is “Mokum”, a Yiddish word meaning “safe haven”. And it could not be truer; Amsterdam is considered as one of the safest cities in the world according to The Economist’s Safe Cities Index 2021, and from a personal experience as a young woman, I gladly find it to be the case as well.
To continue, this city has incredible scenery; the architecture, the benches next to the canals to sit and watch the boats go by, the plant-filled greenhouses and the cozy cafés hidden down a side street, all contribute to a great sensation as soon as one steps a foot outside. Despite not benefitting from the best weather all year long, Amsterdam still offers breath-taking views, especially in the evening. When the sun shines, everyone relishes the blessing of each shaft of sunlight hitting the water of the canals. No wonder many singers like Wim Sonneveld or Jacques Brel have paid tribute to this utterly magical place with songs like “Aan De Amsterdamse Grachten” or “Amsterdam”.
You can immediately understand why this city has inspired so many artists once you soak in the calm yet exciting pace of life here. Speaking of artists, Amsterdam has over 60 different museums and multiple galleries. This leads to a great diversity when it comes to the cultural aspect of the capital for all preferences and ages. The galleries host various exhibitions and most of them are free entry. The amusement strolling around the picturesque Jordaan on a boring Sunday, suddenly ending up in a random exhibition and learning about someone’s work is indescribable.
Finally, if you like window shopping, the 9 Straatjes area is the perfect spot to do so. It offers a perfect visualisation of what you cannot buy as a broke student but to cite Johnny Jordaan: “I prefer to be in Mokum without money, than to be in Paris with one million…”.
Chaimae Chouba A.