Amsterdam is on nearly everyone’s favorite European city list, for different reasons. Many come to see the scenic canals and to visit museums. Some come to tour or to take advantage of the city’s notorious red light district while others come specifically to smoke weed in one of Amsterdam’s many “Coffee Shops”. But on our visit to Amsterdam last week we wanted to go beyond the usual tourist sites, dig a little deeper and to see how some Amsterdamers spend their weekend.
The streets along Amsterdam’s many canals are lined with houses dating from the 1600’s. Their entrances are often nondescript and accessed only by stepping down a few steps from street level and ducking one’s head to enter. Most visitors to Amsterdam never see what’s behind those doors, to see how Amsterdam folks live and how they enjoy their lives here. We had never experienced this unseen part of the city either and had always been curious. So, we were excited when an American friend of ours, who was in Amsterdam for a conference, invited us to join her on a tour of some the city’s canal homes and gardens. Once a year, several homeowners open their doors to the public and this year there were 30 gardens open for viewing over a three day period.
As you can see, there were some beautiful gardens and if you’re in Amsterdam during this annual event, you really owe it to yourself to see this “hidden” part of the city. It may not be as exciting as sex and weed, but it will be an enjoyable experience nonetheless, and a lot safer.