Touring the Netherlands

So, I arrived in the U.K. this past Tuesday morning, and took off for Amsterdam Wednesday morning. Didn’t give myself a lot of time to catch up from jet lag, but I managed surprisingly well. Since i’m 1/2 Dutch, and only an hour’s plane ride away from the Netherlands, I decided I should go. I stayed in a hostel right in the center of Amsterdam, which was nicely located, but a bit grungy. Amsterdam most definitely has quaint and not-so-quaint areas, mostly due to weed and prostitution being legal. Even with the Red Light District, all of Amsterdam’s buildings and canals really are picture perfect. 

So during my first full day in Amsterdam I got up early and beat the lines to the Anne Frank Huis, which she and her family hid in for two years during WW2. It was very cool to walk where she walked. I then went to a popular street market, the Albert Cuyp Market, and then the Jewish Historic Museum.

The next day I traveled west on the train to Haarlem, which is a completely adorable town. Haarlem was the home of Corrie Ten Boom, one of my personal heroes. Corrie was a Christian and during WW2 she and her family hid and helped transported between 600-700 Jews in and out of their home. The tour was led by an older woman who was full of stories about Corrie’s work and life. Definitely my favorite museum in the Netherlands, if not ever. It was just very personal, and still very focused and affirmative of Corrie’s faith. If you haven’t read about Corrie’s life, then I encourage you to read “The Hiding Place.” Or atleast watch the movie. It’s very inspiring. After that I spent the rest of the day touring Haarlem and eating and people watching in a cafe in the center of the town, Grote Markt.

My last day in the Netherlands I went southwest to Rotterdam. Rotterdam was pretty badly destroyed by bombings during WW2, so it lacks Amsterdam’s characteristic 1700’s look. Instead, Rotterdam is famous for its modern architecture, which sprung up in the mid-1900s after the bombings. So I went to the Netherlands Architecture Institute, the Sonneveld House (famous modern home of a dutch millionaire, filled with all kinds of modern luxuries including an intercom system, and a laundry chute), and the famous Cube Houses.

Well, I feel like this post was just a history lesson. Whoops. I also moved into my flat today, unpacked, and am starting to get a feel for the lay of the land :). I’m meeting lots of great international students as well. Grocery shopping, laundry, and orientation meetings tomorrow.