I want to go to there…

Canal. Amsterdam. Netherland…Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Netherlands Amsterdam Reflection of building in canal called Singel

Called the “Venice of the North” this canal-built city has always seemed utterly idyllic to me…

3697314431_6157ee357a_b

…maybe it’s all the windmills?

tulips7

…or that tulips is one of their main industries? Doesn’t it seem like a fairy land?

Flowers-at-Bloom-in-the-Amsterdam-Tulip-Market-by-ethanlindsey

But after reading a bit on The Netherlands, I’ve come to realize that this city’s beauty shines in spite of its tumultuous history.

In the 17th century Amsterdam was considered the wealthiest city in the world thanks to its trading network. (In fact, Amsterdam’s stock exchange is the oldest in the world.) But wars with England and France led to its decline in the late 18th century–at one point Amsterdam was even absorbed by Napoleon’s French Empire. Through the industrial revolution in the late 19th century Amsterdam surfaced again as a formidable power–but World War II was on the horizon.

Woodcut map of Amsterdam from 1544.
Woodcut map of Amsterdam from 1544.

In May 1940, the German air force (Luftwaffe) set out to break the Dutch resistance by bombing the city of Rotterdam, which is located just north of Amsterdam. Worried that the Nazis’ bombing would come at too great a cost, the Dutch sent a message signaling a ceasefire. The message did not arrive in time and the now-infamous Rotterdam Blitz decimated the city. This is why Rotterdam’s architecture is vastly different from Amsterdam’s quaint style.

Rotterdam's famous cube houses, designed by Piet Blom.
Rotterdam’s famous cube houses, designed by Piet Blom.

The Nazis invaded The Netherlands and took over Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Dutch families were hiding hundreds of thousands of Jews in their homes–the most famous probably being Anne Frank. (Like many preteens around the world, I treasured The Diary of Anne Frank). Frank’s family and more than 100,000 other Jews were discovered and deported to Nazi concentration camps.

Although Amsterdam would regain its independence after the war, the city had suffered greatly. The Netherlands had the highest per capita death rate of all Nazi-occupied countries in Western Europe. Its citizens suffered famine and most of the trees in Amsterdam were cut down for fuel.

Frozen_Prinsengracht

Today, much of Amsterdam’s Old Town is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city has reemerged as a global center of culture. Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and receives more than 4.63 million international visitors per year.

I would love to visit the Vincent Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandt House Museum and rent bicycles to get around. Did you know Amsterdam is the most bike-friendly capital in the world?

hi-sunflowers-2

i-amsterdam-museumplein

As far as packing, my dream Dutch suitcase would be:

Sweet take on the mirrored trend. http://bit.ly/1E6JtkA
Sweet take on the mirror trend. http://bit.ly/1E6JtkA
Spring stripes. http://piprl.me/1b1oXEI
Spring stripes. http://piprl.me/1b1oXEI
Love the 70's vibe of this dress. http://bit.ly/1aBxEoL
Love the 70’s vibe of this dress. http://bit.ly/1aBxEoL
Clogs are Amsterdam's shoe. http://bit.ly/1HcrMPB
They invented the clog, after all. http://bit.ly/1HcrMPB
Looks painted by the Dutch masters! http://bit.ly/1cA4qIw
Looks painted by Dutch masters! http://bit.ly/1cA4qIw

For now, Tot ziens (“see you later”) and check out these links on Amsterdam:

Advertisements

Posted by

There are California girls and there are Bakersfield girls. I am the latter.

2 thoughts on “I want to go to there…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s