Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Amsterdam Welcomes All:

Stepping into this tiny village on the North Sea at once brings to life an almost ancient surreal fairytale setting that frequently defies the senses. Its alpha-world city status compliments its Renaissance inspired city planning, from which stems what is today arguably one of the city's most charming features: its majestic seventeenth century canals. What Amsterdam, a city layered to extremes–similar to Manhattan–does best, is envelope its visitors and residents alike with a false sense of urban solitude, even when countless others are clearly in sight. Housing density within this hybrid modern-yet-mediaeval cluster of a city ensures someone is always nearby; Amsterdam was made for people, by people, and as such its built environment exudes a more human-centered scale when compared to its contemporaries. Founded in the thirteenth century and named after a dam on the river Amstel, the city reached its glory days in the seventeenth century–the Golden Age–declining and fluctuating in status ever since, and never quite reaching its former heights. Today the city continues reclaiming its uniquely democratic position in the world–easily achieved, being so fluidly linked to the world by water–exporting its notions of trade, tolerance, and contentment to all. While the city has the heartbeat of a massive world player, its soul lies in the city's harbor, purposely built to allow the inward flow of the world’s riches, adding weight to the city’s already heavy heart of gold. Similar to a gathering of humbly open-minded individuals, Amsterdam welcomes all.