Netherlands

Amsterdam Canals

Seeing a city has a lot to do with perspective. For example, one winter, I commuted with ice skates to my office in Beijing on the frozen canals in Chaoyang District. It was like being in a different city altogether. Then, also in Beijing, I took 30 times different commuting routes, and like this came to places I would have never seen otherwise. Most people only consider the shortest way, because they only think of its utility getting to work and back hassle-free and fast. In the long run, and expanded to all areas of life, efficiency makes stupid. Also, the first impression of a city defines a lot how you feel about it: the road you take, the station you arrive, people, you meet first. So, when I come to a city the first time, I take good care of how I enter it and who I see first.

I was reminded of this impact of your perspective when last weekend, a friend took us out on his boat through the canals (gracht) of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a lovely city - traditional and progressive and innovative at the same time. Seeing it from the waterside, made it even more clear to me. What I mean, is the perfect blend in traditional and modern architecture and city planning, the cultural richness, liveliness, and for example that Amsterdam will be a fully electric car city by 2030. I like coming to Amsterdam, no matter from which angle. But the boat’s view was again an exceptional one.