Day 11-18: Amsterdam

Aside from all the talk about the red-light districts and the ongoings around the area… Amsterdam has really captured one-of-a-kind experiences for me. From the scale, the flow, to the culture around the central city, Amsterdam poses to be a nice place to live in. I guess dorming on a boathouse also helps add to the excitement (although there was no wi-fi onboard…)

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The narrow streets and the way they’ve been laid out in a ring formation over time (defense mechanism) give the city a sense of intimacy that doesn’t often exist in many busy cities today. The way the water weaves through the city fabric is one to go see for yourself. And despite the fact that almost the entire country of Netherlands is below sea-level and that the people there are completely dependent on the artificial systems that regulate the water levels every now and then (especially during heavy rain), they seem completely at ease, without any sense of tension in their everyday lives. Living as amphibians, either biking on land or rowing a boat down a canal … there is a nice flow to how people and things travel.

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While biking one day, we passed by a very nice housing project – a house nestled within an old silo. The project architect lives in the one of the units and was kind enough to show us around. We then spent a day to travel down to Utrecht and Rotterdam to see some of the works by WEST 8, UN Studio, and Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The level of detail in the Mediacenter and the library by Neutelings produces amazing effects on their interior.

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