Inspiration in Amsterdam

Week before last: conference in Cologne. Here are some things about going to a conference in Cologne that are great:

- The public transportation. Look at this!

- Woyton Coffee, a fine local minichain that helped me deal with my jet lag, insomnia, hypomanic state, whatever it was
- Beer gardens where you can just go with a conference-group of 15 people you hardly know, and instead of “ugghhh where can we possibly go” it’s “sure, come on in, and beers for everyone? great, beers for everyone. and food if you want to order it, and we can split the checks.”
- Do you want to see the sights? There is kinda one sight, it is the giant cathedral, it is super pretty and worth seeing, it is right downtown next to the train station, you can see it for an hour or for a minute.

But even better, afterward I went to Amsterdam to see my friends Michael and Antonieta, and Daniel who was able to join us for a day. It was super great! Here are some things that were great:
- reuniting with my old friends
- public transport there is also great, ok
- OV-fiets! This is a bike you can rent from a place right next to the train station, for 3 euros a day, that comes with its own lock, fenders, everything you need. It is not sleek or lightweight but neither is anyone else’s bike, and it works. This made my Amsterdam trip so much better.
- the coffee shops. (The ones where you drink coffee. No, really.) Between Hay, Hutspot, Scandinavian Embassy, CT Coffee and Coconuts, and Bocca Coffee, I was well caffeinated and impressed with design.


- the Stedelijk Museum. It’s their MOMA. Awesome stuff. I learned what the Amsterdam School in the 1910-1930 was (kinda like art deco¬†+ Myst), learned what Gerrit Rietveld did (think Mondriaan in 3D), saw a bunch of paintings and sculptures I liked, went inside a replica of an old bar called the Beanery, got a little disturbed and really intrigued by a Jon Rafman/Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) video ("Sticky Drama", vaguely inspired by his research in online communities like Second Life and WoW)

Karel Appel, Questioning Children #2

Rietveld, Elling Buffet

Adolf Eibink and Jan Antoine Snellebrand, a desk lamp

Jan Eisenloeffel, a table clock

A bunch of Amsterdam school lamps

Here’s a thing that was not great: shopping. I tried to buy some things because a lot of my old clothes are wearing out, and I figured, I’m Dutch-sized, they should fit me well. Nah, not really! Not any better than anywhere else, it seemed. And the styles are all denim or denim-colored. Everything’s jeans. And not even good jeans: skinny jeans! Those are uncomfortable, man. Shirts and jackets in shades of blue. I am not on board with the current style I guess. (It’s ok, I’ll be in style again in 5 years.) I went home and bought some clothes at REI.

Well, ok, these pants were cool, and not jeans. But they were also 190 euros.

Here’s another thing that is great: Project Fi. I didn’t have to futz with a local SIM card or anything, just showed up and everything worked and was still the same price for text and data (texting free, data $10/gb). The future is here!


Adam Jerffee -

I went to Cologne a few times and I wholeheartedly agree that the cathedral is the only real thing to see. The Stedelijk Museum is great though. Fun fact: the cover photo of my blog is a small photo from the Stedelijk (Study for Horizon by Sigurdur Gudmundsson). I don’t know why that tiny photograph stood out to me over everything else.

Dan -

Oh nice! I like it too. I thought it might have been a still from a Terry Gilliam movie. (That’s meant as a compliment.)

Dan -

Now wait, I can’t comment on your blog? Anyway, I wanted to say, please make Amstel Light commercials. Regardless of whether Amstel Light pays you for them.

Sahara Shrestha -

AHH .. i wish to go here someday … hopefully!
-sahara, from Nepal

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