Going bi-lingual in Amsterdam
When it comes to Amsterdam, there are two things you are going to see a whole lot of, and I think you know what they are. Those two things are bicycles, and of course … consonants. Everywhere you look it’s as if vowels are an endangered species, being sighted less and less often in the wild. Sure, for a scrabble champion maybe the word: “angstschreeuw” is common knowledge, but it puts the rest of our tongues into a sailor’s knot. The Dutch language can seem formidable, but as with visiting any foreign country, it’s polite to at least attempt some common words and phrases.
Not to worry though because in this article I’ve prepared for you a few things to say that may be helpful to know during your stay. If you’re ever in doubt however, just resort to English. They’ll not only be able to answer you, but probably correct your pronunciation as well.
Ik ben de weg kwijt: I’m lost.
Chances are you are not an expert on the canals and geography of Amsterdam, and the chances are even greater that you will not be entirely clear headed whilst roaming around the city. This little quip can quickly make any passerby aware that you are in need of assistance, although the glazed look on your face and the faint smell of alcohol will probably be enough of a clue. A good tidbit that I recently learned which might help to orient you is that the three main canals are in alphabetical order, in the horseshoe: Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.
Ik zou ervan genieten als ik aan uw oorlel mocht sabbelen: I would enjoy it if I could nibble your earlobe.
If you think you have no use for this phrase then you should immediately take your open hand and move it forcefully across your cheek. There are chances for romance in all corners of Amsterdam. If you’d like to attempt international relations with a local then this is a nice little gem to have in your arsenal. Everyone enjoys a nice earlobe nibble since it can really get things going in the right direction. Even if you’re over in the Red Light District, it won’t hurt you to use a little seduction.
Ligt het aan mij of staat er een roze eenhoorn achter je?: Is it me or is there a pink unicorn behind you?
Okay, so as you probably know, things can get weird in Amsterdam … really weird. Depending on your level of detachment from reality and your ability to cope with that, it may be necessary to question whether or not that majestic animal you keep seeing is in fact real. In my case it was not, but you never know in this city, especially if you’ve ever wandered into a smartshop.
Since you are now somewhat versed in the language, there are a few events coming up this summer that will give you the opportunity to test out your newly acquired, linguistic knowledge.
Vondelpark Open Air Theater – June 5 until August 28, 2011
You can’t beat live performances for entertainment and you certainly can’t beat free ones. Every year the open-air theater in the middle of Amsterdam’s most popular park hosts about 125 different performance artists on summer weekends. During these months about 100,000 people flock over to the stage to see what’s happening, so go along and veg’ out in the park for a while, and soak up some culture.
Nuit Blanche Amsterdam - June 18, 2011
If you aren’t in the know about Nuit Blanche, then you’re missing out. It’s an all-night party, intended to shake things up and turn the city on it’s head. Since Amsterdam is already kind of upside-down, maybe it’s an attempt to take the city and turn it the right side up. Nonetheless, from 7pm to 7am some locations in the city will become unrecognisable as they’re transformed into creative art installations - designed to challenge the way we think and interact with normal urban spaces. This year’s theme is all about interpretations of the future of Amsterdam, so enjoy some substance(s), cruise around, and have your brain injected with inspiration, whether you want it or not!
Taste of Amsterdam – June 23 to June 26, 2011 (Unconfirmed)
After you’ve spent some time perusing one or several of the city’s delightful coffee-shops, you’ll probably find yourself on a quest for one thing: FOOD. If you happen to be in Amsterdam on one of these days in June then you’ll be in luck. Over in Amstelpark there will be master chefs at work showing you how little you truly know about food and cooking. That doesn’t really matter though because your victory comes when you get to sample any and all of the dishes,from 15 or so of the city’s most prestigious restaurants. There’s also wine to be had, so loosen your belt and prepare for an experience of culinary ecstasy. Tickets for this event are usually around 15 euros.
All this, in addition to the city’s seasonal beaches and the well-known year-round entertainment make summer days in Amsterdam feel like a little taste of Heaven. If you ever find yourself here, and the words: “This isn’t any fun” come out of your mouth, I want you to walk up to the nearest person and pay them to kick you in the face. Then pay them extra to spit on you. Hopefully that will fix whatever glitch you were experiencing.
- Matt Smith
Bring a pig to the Pig
Whether you find it in your granny's attic, a hip flea market or your local dollar store ... put it in your backpack and bring it on your travels to join our collection!
We will trade you for a pig t-shirt, another pig collector's item or a couple of beers on the house!
PS. We love real-life pigs too, just as long as they're potty trained ;-)
This E-zine’s Top Album Suggestions
This is a collection of everything that I need in my head behind the bar!
Here are a few albums I play to tune up the mood.
- Awesome two headed band from the UK.
- A bit of rap mixed with beat box and acoustics.
- Live Version is an amazing song.
- The more you listen, the more chilled out the album becomes.
- There are no drums, just a beat box and sarcastic lyrics.
- It’s good for chilling out in the morning.
- Favourite song: Start Beginning.
- A Surf-rock band with Harmonica-laden tunes.
- A favourite to play when the night is just getting started.
- True feel good music, with a blend of Reggae, Ska and Surf.
- Favourite song: Comin' Home.
- If you don't know this band, you might know the lead singer’s last band - Dispatch.
- Us Against The Crown is their best album so far.
- The song Right Me Up really stands out.
- Favourite song: People To People.
- Lio (Beach Hostel)
The Beach Hostel - Tunemotion
Are you chillin’ somewhere with no clue where to go next? Got some songs that you’re itching to see spread across the globe? Well combine all of the above and take your chance at the Flying Pig Beach Hostel’s Tunemotion events.
With Tunemotion at the beach hostel we offer:
- Free accommodation.
- Free drinks.
- An awesome vibe.
- A stage, with equipment.
All we ask in return is a gig with a minimum of 30 minutes spent, singing on stage. So if you’re ready to perform near the beach and in the sun with some awesome people around you send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you include:
- The band name.
- How many people are in the band.
- The length of the set list.
- A sample of a few songs.
- Whether you prefer to play in May or June.
Decisions will be made In May and again in June. E-mails will be sent out to those we select. We hope to see you soon at the Flying Pig beach hostel!
The Pig recommends...
Europe's Famous Hostels, the exclusive association of the best hostels across Europe, welcomes new members Naples and Sorrento to their network.
These two hostels set on Italy's stunning Amalfi Coast offer the best in budget accommodation without compromising on quality. Seven Hostel in Sorrento is a converted monastery set on a cliff top with panoramic views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius, from the rooftop bar.
Hostel of the Sun in Naples is located in the centre of this historic city, a stone's throw from all the historic sites, the shopping district and bars in this buzzing town.
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