A Walk Through Amsterdam

Estimated read time 3 min read

From birth, America puts us through an education which doubles as a training course in nationalism. We’re imparted with the “wisdom” that America is the best country, to believe in the American flag, and not to question too much. However, in Amsterdam, you will find none of that; the air is clear, the people are stress-free, and life is good. The Netherlands can be best described as a democratic socialist paradise, with an open-market economy and a mindset that exercises a concept that seems to become more and more controversial in the states: tolerance. 


The second I stepped out of the airport, the organized chaos washed over me. Despite all the hustle and bustle, everyone seemed to be happy. Families hugged in unison whilst children ran around without much scorn from the passerby’s. This can partly be attributed to the multitude of legislation in place to make sure that the people are taken care of. The minimum wage increases with your age, incentivizing you to put in your best work. The healthcare system is cheap, and, only if needed, covered entirely by the government. The education system is near-unanimously free to all. What could you possibly worry about, aside from the obligatory high-cost housing in most of the country?


Touring around Amsterdam, you will notice, aside from the serene quiet, there is a great deal of preservation in regard to old areas of the city. Many buildings stand the same as they might have fifty or a hundred years ago. There’s no sense of gentrification or tampering; the sites are preserved as the country understands the importance of historical preservation. Despite all of our attachment to our past, the U.S. seems to lack such sentiments towards many of its public establishments.


The Dutch society is liberal and in such a way that is natural. People live as they please and believe in progression, cutting the attachment to old ideals. There’s a great deal of self-awareness as they constantly refer back to the tragedies which they have suffered and the ones which they have perpetuated; they’re able to love their country whilst simultaneously criticizing its wrongdoings. This progressive mindset is something I wish I’d see more of in the States, as we grow more divided day by day; religion has become fact, and fact has become fiction.


In many regards, the Netherlands is by no means a perfect place, but it is very clearly doing many things better than the U.S. How many places in the U.S. have designated traffic lights for bikes? How easy is it to get to places without a car? Despite being perceived as a developed society, we seem averse to changes that would benefit us. I do sincerely hope that more young people decide to study abroad, and hopefully impart the wisdom into their future political endeavors. 

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