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The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

The student news site of Freehold High School

The Colonial

Globe-Trotter Series: Amsterdam

Photo Courtesy of Anum Farghani

Last summer, I had the privilege to step into the captivating tapestry of Amsterdam. Where each cobblestone whispers tales of history, and the canals weave a narrative of charm.

The name “Amsterdam” comes from the river Amstel which happens to be the most famous beer in Amsterdam. It is also available in the United States.  As the city gracefully balances its rich heritage with a modern flair, let’s embark on a journey through the pulsating heart of the Dutch capital, through my eyes.

It all began once I got off a four-hour train ride from London to Amsterdam. European countries have huge connections because of the various train routes. When I arrived off the train, I was introduced to houses that seemed to be out of a fairytale. The houses were so unique from any other houses. They were all very tall and narrow, this was because of how little surface area the city had. Since it was a place that had so many canals, they didn’t have a choice but to make them taper. One thing I also noticed was that all the houses had hooks or a “hijsbalk” on the top. When residents needed to carry bulky goods, they would use the hook and pull it up with a pulley system. The houses were obviously too crampy to have wide enough stairs so the hook was a key and very unique aspect of the house.
Cruising around Amsterdam was gracious, the surroundings felt like I was in a fantasy world. With the houses beaming high, the huge canals sparkling blue, and the light chiming of bikes. It was the city of bikes…way too many bikes. Well, you know what they say about Amsterdam, “Amsterdam: Where bicycles outnumber people, and even the canals have traffic jams.”. It’s funny how even our tour guide said, “If you haven’t encountered an accident by a bicycle, you haven’t been to Amsterdam yet.” To prove this theory, my mom and I almost got hit by a bicycle…yeah, not a fun experience. Amsterdam is even estimated to have more bicycles than residents, with over 800 thousand bicycles. Sometimes the Dutch even measure the depth of their canals by the number of bicycles thrown into it. Crazy, no? Another laughable aspect is how bikes are the most stolen stuff in the capital. And for this reason only, it is advised to buy a cheap bicycle always, since it has a higher chance of being stolen.

Dutch cuisine was one of my fondest memories when I traveled there. It was a wonderful blend of traditional and delicious comforting dishes from the famous and iconic stroop-waffles. To the savory fast-food snacks like Bitterballen. For those who don’t know, a stroopwafel is a traditional Dutch cookie consisting of two thin waffles with a caramel filling in the middle. The word “stroop” literally means “syrup”. And my personal favorite bitterballen is a deep-fried crispy, breadcrumb-coated ball that is filled with a mixture of meat and spices, along with different kinds of dipping sauces.

Another amazing fact about Amsterdam is that it is home to the world’s only floating flower market, located on the Singel canal, where you can shop for your favorite colorful blooms.

Amsterdam is also home to the historic Anne Frank House, the renowned Rijks Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum. I am fortunate to wander these ancient cobblestone streets, narrowly navigating the bustling bicycle traffic, I relish the crisp breeze from the canal. With a diverting stroopwafel in one hand and the savory bite of bitterballen in the other hand, every moment in Amsterdam becomes a flavorful adventure.

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About the Contributor
Anum Farghani
Anum Farghani, Staff Writer
Anum is a freshman at Freehold High School. This is her first time being a member of The Colonial and likes to write fictional stories, current events, and technology. Anum enjoys memes, video games, and traveling around the world. She plans on pursuing a technology degree in her future in New Jersey.

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  • E

    Edward ErtmanMar 7, 2024 at 12:42 pm

    You forgot the botanical garden, especially the butterfly exhibition!

    • J

      JennaMar 11, 2024 at 4:55 pm

      that sounds so gorgeous Amsterdam is so cool !!