You can find them in pancake places or in shoping mall cafes or in certain eetcafes.
They're not just mini pancakes - they're stylish and absolutely delicious small bites. The best time to have some poffertjes would be early in the afternoon, however they taste great at all times, even with your morning coffee.
Amsterdammertjes are three-foot iron poles that are installed to mark more or less the sidewalk areas - instead of a curb.
They are basically there to keep motorists from chasing pedestrians onto sidewalks, but their mystical power also works on bicyclists. As long as you stay between the Amsterdammertjes and the buildings or the canal, you are safe from being run over.
I did read in a travelguide, though, that the city is thinking of removing them again, because they need the fines from cars parking in the wrong area.... hmmmmm!
Amsterdam was the only place I have been to that makes an attempt to disguise any building works that are in progress (and there is a LOT of renovation going on!")
This was one example of a creative way of making a messy building site look pleasing to onlookers – and more to the point, the suffering neighbours!
Other examples I saw were huge advertising pictures spanning the whole front of a building top to bottom, one was of a beautiful beach scene (promoting Turkey!), a bright pink mesh cover, and even a cheerful bright yellow covered front of a building!
The rule of thumb for shopping is 'self serve' & bring your own bag!
Shops & markets that cater to tourists will wrap and bag items. If you go to a regular grocery store, it's do it yourself. No carry out, no baggers, and they are more than happy to sell you a bag if you didn't bring one.
While this usually isn't a major problem, it can be an inconvenience. Like the day I went to the open market in Amsterdam and bought several cheeses. After I paid him, he handed me several chunks of loose cheese. Of course it wasn't going to fit in my purse, and I didn't wish to walk around town carrying a half dozen pieces of cheese... Several minutes later he was able to find someone who had a plastic bag.
Doe maar gewoon dan doe je al gek genoeg! Translates as Behave normally, you will behave crazy ennough then.
There is a very funny book about all our quirks an strange behaviour, "the undutchables", by Colin White & Laurie Boucke. A must read for all people who are staying here for a longer period.
I had a preconceived idea of Dutch people being possibly a bit on the rude side when dealing with folks, since I had read that more than a little in various travelers' opinions while doing Internet research. Neither my wife nor myself found this to be the case, however there was a certain directness that at times felt different from average experiences with people in the U.S. at establishments like restaurants, public facilities, etc. Perhaps that's where some of those feelings others seemed to have come from. To me, one particular traveler's comments on a Website travel page described it perfectly, saying that the Dutch WERE very direct and to-the-point when dealing with people, without the fake and often over-friendliness of some U.S. folks in service businesses and other jobs dealing with the public.
Our first real encounter with a Dutch person was the fellow selling airport shuttle tickets just outside Schiphol Airport, and he was very friendly and courteous. We had a great conversation and he made two stressed-out travelers instantly relaxed. This continued with the guy that drove our shuttle, a very nice young man. All the staff we dealt with at the Krasnapolsky hotel were professionalism personified. Everyone we encountered anywhere we went seemed very nice people.
One funny anecdote though, and it got me thinking about the rude-people thing at the time, was during our first tram ride. Having been in Amsterdam only one night, still trying to get back to feeling normal after the trip there and having some apprehension at mastering the tram routes, we hopped on one at Dam Square heading for the Rijksmuseum. After making the several tram stops along the way, our driver quite suddenly announced to the passengers in English and a little on the loud side, "I will tell you this one time, and ONLY one time, the next stop is for the Rijksmuseum. I will not tell you this again!" You had to be there, it was hilarious. Perhaps one too many tourists had asked him that day which stop it was!
One of our goals when planning our trip was to try to "fit in" as much as possible, both in demeanor and dress. The "dress" part I think we accomplished pretty well, having decided before going that we would make it a casual-dress stay, and packing accordingly and choosing to avoid fancy events and restaurants. On a future trip I would probably choose to do a more upscale thing or two while there.
Being there during the early Winter made upper-body clothing a bit inconsequential as far as appearance when outside walking around, since we were covered by mid-length coats anyway. For pants, we wore jeans most days due to their warmth and comfort, and probably 60% of others were also.
I personally seemed to perceive less numbers of what I would guess as being U.S. tourists, but of course you can't tell that from just looking at someone (sometimes, LOL), but basing it more on mannerisms, whether someone appeared to be wandering and looking or purposefully heading for a destination, dress, and snippets of overheard conversations. Perhaps due to it being Christmas week. We did hear a lot of German and British-accented English being spoken, a little Italian and French here and there, some middle-Eastern languages, some Asian, and more Dutch than I expected from a lot of folks who didn't look Dutch.
As to the "fitting in" aspect, I viewed traveling to another country as my being a guest in that country, and if nothing else a form of courtesy to "do as the Dutch", so to speak.
Overall, we saw and heard a lot of different cultures represented while in Amsterdam, and I would imagine this is even more the case during the main tourist season of Spring through Fall. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely and feeling quite at home, a big reason why we picked this place to begin with! My wife and I agreed that we both adjusted to being in a different World, quite literally, much faster than we would have expected, and to me that's a tribute to Amsterdam and the Dutch people in general.
My girlfriend and I asked everyone we met - espcially the dutch residents, where we could eat some traditional dutch food...turns out they hate there own food and that there really are not many Dutch restaurants.
In fact, most people quoted Indoneison as the food of choice in Amsterdam...
quite disppointing actually...
The Netherlands are a paradise for pastry's lovers ;-) My favourite one is the so-called "gevulde koeken" made with almonds. Echt lekker !! Now also available in Belgium (and elsewhere ?) in every Hema-shop ;-)
Thank God there are Amsterdammerkes (little Amsterdammers). Those little brown iron poles are a blessing for every pedestrian.
Amsterdammerkes are installed to keep a safe distance between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. As long as you stay between the Amsterdammertjes and the houses, you are safe from being run over.
Every Amsterdammerke has the symbol of Amsterdam XXX marked on its pole.
Little by little these poles are disappearing. Where sidewalks are being elevated to mark the border between the road and sidewalk, the Amsterdammerkes are disappearing.
This is one of my favourite things about The Netherlands! Hagelslaag is chocolate sprinkles ( a bit like vermicelli) that you can eat for breakfast on bread. It comes in different flavours of chocolate, my favourite is plain. It's also great on toast, as it melts slightly. It's available on the breakfast section of major supermarkets like Albert Heijn, for around 1 euro 70 a box. I imagine that it is really intended for children, but 'big kids' shouldn't miss out either!
Make sure you try a Pannekoeken, which is the Dutch version of a pancake. It's actually more like a French crepe, except that it's served flat on a large plate and sprinkled with either powdered or regular sugar, jam, jelly, syrups, fruits or maybe even a hot ginger sauce. Most places have an enormous selection of toppings so you can have it just the way you like it.
The post boxes in the Netherlands are bright red and hard to miss. Post offices are open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm. Postage on a postcard is roughly .50 Euros to anywhere, although if you are sending one across the ocean it can take roughly a week to get to its destination. Make sure you mark your envelopes "air mail," "par avion," or "per luchtpost" or it probably won't get there! To send an international letter or postcard, drop it in the overige slot of a mailbox.
Birthdays are even more important than Christmas. Forgetting one or not coming to visit is seen as totally antisocial. Birthdays for children consist of a party for the children and later the adults of the family come to visit. For the adults, there is coffee with pastries and some alcoholic beverages, sometimes even a sandwich.
Along the canals you will see these low fences. They were built in the early 1960's. It costed the city 100 dutch guilders (= 45 Euro)a meter, which was a lot of money that time.
They are put here to prevent parking cars from falling over the edge. But it doesn't work very good, because an average of 1 car a week is going for a swim.
Once i witnessed such an accident. I was working at the Keizersgracht at that time approx 20 years ago. Looking through the window from the third floor we saw a woman driving forward instead of backward. As she and her car were in the water people gathered to watch it. Nobody jumped after her although she was shouting she could not swim. The firebrigade came just in time and rescued her seconds before the car went to the bottom. This accident didn't make me go to swimming lessons, but it made me more carefull...... (Gonnie)
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