I travel often to Amsterdam, one of my favorite “urban” destinations. This is a city untrammeled by “progress” of modern architecture and commercialism, almost a living museum. Bicycles outnumber cars. Streets are narrow, not straight, and cobbled with stones. Small shops do not suffer from big-box rapaciousness. A lacework of canals add charm and a means of transportation. No fences prevent drunks from falling into the water, as would be erected in Land of the Free and the Home of the NRA.
This closeness to water makes me fear that the charm of this city and its surrounding countryside will disappear. Some point to the danger of rising sea level for Florida and Manhattan, but the Netherlands will be long gone before residents of those places need to wear rubber boots. Parts of the country are already below sea level, and flood tides push waves over dikes.
Folks in Switzerland are surely more relaxed about climate change...
Amsterdam is a city of contrasts, which makes it an exciting place to visit and an interesting place to live (although I would not want to live here).
Strict rules and regulations do not hamper seemingly endless tolerance of differences. One finds inspiring creativity intermingled with old-fashioned buildings. Free-flowing traffic on water runs parallel and perpendicular to cramped streets, which are clogged with people, cars, and bikes. The variety of restaurants is vitally endless, and eclectic shops make any stroll through the streets an adventure in discovery. Strict Calvinist citizens co-exist with the red light districts.
Nb. The title is the symbol of the city, seen on flags flying throughout.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.