Shared Experience: things to experience in Amsterdam


Estimating around 847,000 bikes owned by only 442,693 total households in Amsterdam, the ratio of bikes owned to homes in the city is nearly two to one. This number only continues to grow as biking becomes more and more popular in Amsterdam.

Traveling to different countries is a great way to see different cultures and learn about the country’s history.

My experience

In the fall of 2016, I visited Amsterdam. This was my first time ever going to Europe and it was a very unique experience. When traveling to other countries, some people may just stay in their resort and not venture out and really experience the country’s culture. This trip was definitely not the type where I stayed in a fancy hotel and sat poolside eating and drinking international foods.

On my dad’s side of the family, he has a close cousin who lives right in the center of Amsterdam. While on our week long trip to the Netherlands, we stayed in their apartment. I’m really glad we stayed with them and not in a hotel, because we got to see the city from the perspective of people who actually live there.

My family has always been really big on traveling. Since as long as I can remember, I’ve never spent more than a year not going out of the country or traveling somewhere. The first time I went on a plane was when I was only 8 months old! Because of this, traveling has become a really big factor in my life and I’m really grateful for that. I think that being able to see other countries and be away from what you’re used to always seeing is really important, especially when you’re growing up.

Trying new food

While in Amsterdam, I got to try a lot of new foods I’ve never had before. I’m usually a very picky eater, but when traveling I always try to do my best to try everything new.

Since the family I stayed with lived right in the center of the city, markets full of different foods and stores were right outside the door. One of the yummiest foods I tried while there were poffertjes. Pofferjtes are basically just mini dutch pancakes usually covered in powdered sugar and made with flour and yeast. They’re usually considered more of a treat as many are very sweet and can be filled with custard.

Phot via PxHere under the Creative Commons License
Pofferjtes became a popular treat in 1815. They are usually sold in markets or at more formal fairs in the Netherlands.

Another delicious foods I tried and still enjoy are stroopwafels. This dessert can be found in many grocery stores in the US, but by far the best ones are made and eaten in the Netherlands. Stroopwafels are a type of Dutch cookie that resemble small and thin-like waffles. They are usually filled with a rich caramel syrup. This dessert is very common at markets, bakeries, and grocery stores in the Netherlands, but also worldwide.

Photo via Pixabay under the Creative Commons License
Stroopwafels originated in the city of Gouda in the Netherlands in the early 19th century. The dessert is very versatile and there are multiple flavors to choose from varying from chocolate, caramel, to honey.

Best things to do in Amsterdam

Like in any other European city, Amsterdam is full of rich history and beautiful architecture. If you like museums, you should definitely visit Rijksmuseum. This museum is the national museum of the Netherlands and is full of the country’s art and history.

I’m usually not a big fan of visiting museums and seeing historic buildings when traveling, just because it doesn’t interest me that much. Surprisingly, this museum was different from the others and I was able to be amused the entire time I visited.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons License
Totaling about 2.68 million visitors per year, the Rikjsmuseum is one of the Netherland’s biggest tourist attractions. The Rijksmuseum first opened in the city of Amsterdam in 1885. It houses over a million artwork pieces and can display up to 8,000 pieces at once.

One unique thing about Amsterdam is the way many of its residents get from one place to another. According to, there are over 4 times as many bikes in the city than households.

Spending a day biking through the city is a necessity when visiting this European country. My family made sure to make this excursion through the city while there. Sightseeing from a bike and seeing how the city really functions was beautiful. Passing by the canals, fall leaves falling from the trees,and being able to hear conversations of Dutch residents as they walked by was something you can’t get by staying in a resort during your whole trip.

Seeing as the family I have that lives there were the ones giving me the tour, my family and I saw lots of hidden gems average tourist groups never see. This made my experience seeing the city even more unique.

Final thoughts overall

Traveling to countries with such rich historical backgrounds and buildings deserve to be explored. When traveling to more tropical destinations, I see why staying in a resort could be the easiest approach. My trip to Amsterdam was so special to me because of the fact that I didn’t just stay in a hotel and actually saw the city for what it is.

With the delicious new foods, beautiful buildings and museums, and other gorgeous sights, it’s no surprise I can’t wait to go back and visit Amsterdam again.