Amsterdam: It’s Not You, It’s Me

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I think I owe you an apology, Amsterdam. You see, I just don't think things will ever work out between us.

But it's not you — it's me.


I made the mistake of trying to get to know you at the wrong time, Amsterdam. I met you for the first time after visiting an old fling (London), being introduced to a new suitor (Paris), and then being unexpectedly swept off my feet by a charming new acquaintance (Bruges).

To be honest, I don't think you ever really stood a chance.


Yes, I will concede that with your pretty canals and narrow houses, you really are just as attractive as everyone's always said. I delighted in snapping photos of your bridges covered in brightly colored flowers, and your houseboat-lined canals.

But looks aren't always everything.



For every beautiful canal I strolled down, there was an angry cyclist whizzing by. For every quiet moment I found in a park or down a quiet side street, there was any annoyingly high or drunk tourist around the next corner.

You actually stressed me out a little bit, Amsterdam.


From that first night when I visited a coffee shop with some friends and took a stroll through the sad and disturbing Red Light District, I knew in my heart that it just wasn't meant to be, Amsterdam. I wasn't looking for weed or peep shows, but that's all you were offering at first.

It was partially my fault for falling into the tourist traps straight away.


But, even when I ventured beyond them, I just didn't feel anything with you, Amsterdam.

I spent the next few days giving you chance after chance, trying to get away from your touristy areas and trying to participate in anything I could to make me like you a little bit more. I was looking for that connection; that spark that would help me fall for you. 

I rented a bike, spent a whole day wandering on foot, went looking for some history at the Anne Frank House, and even took a canal boat cruise. While some of these things were lovely and interesting, we just never “clicked.”


Maybe I was just burnt out. Maybe I was missing other destinations. Maybe I was looking forward to others a little too much. Maybe it would be best if we just try to give it a go again another time.

For now, though, I'll take all the blame, Amsterdam. It's really not you — it's me.

Perhaps we can still be friends?


Yours sincerely,

When it comes to travel, there are some destinations we instantly fall in love with, others that we become fond of in time, and others that we just never click with. 

I gave Amsterdam a second chance a couple years later – but it's just not a city that's a good fit for me. But that's okay! Cities are like people – you can't have a good relationship with them all.

Have you ever just not vibed with a city you wanted to like? What do YOU think of Amsterdam?



*Note: I visited Amsterdam as part of my Busabout trip around Europe. They provided me with transport on all 3 of their Europe loops, but all opinions of the destinations I visit are entirely my own!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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72 Comments on “Amsterdam: It’s Not You, It’s Me

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  1. I’ll be honest, I’m still on this trip currently but I didn’t really love Thailand like everyone else does! Of course there were really cool things I saw but I just didn’t connect with it like I hear about from other travelers. I enjoyed Cambodia and am loving Bali much more!

    I felt the same about Amsterdam, but absolutely LOVED Haarlem, where we stayed.

      I definitely think I would enjoy other parts of the Netherlands more!

    I cannot find the words to define it properly – there is something in Amsterdam that is just… no. It’s not an ugly or a bad place (well, except from tons of edgie-touristic coffee shops, red windows district and cheap munch food places).
    Something in the atmosphere and in the mentality just feels wrong. I really cannot find the words. But if comparing it to London or Berlin for an instance, maybe it is more clear to get that feeling of what feels different.

    I’ve been living in the Netherlands for the last two years. Something in the Dutch mentality is somewhat arrogant, close-minded, think they are the best, competitive, judgmental (maybe Dutch feel threatened? It is a small nation among great and successful ones that “needs to “prove’ itself constantly), heavily protocol-followers, do-normaal volk, afraid to be individual, too mainstreamic society, don’t have any sense to food (well, maybe only processed food).

      Hi Bozoo,

      I thought this was a post about the city of Amsterdam? but you are talking about Dutch people. I think you have been living the past 2 years in “the Randstad” (the busiest part of the country, a city on itself) I can tell you that we are not all the same… Unfortanetely our gouvernment made us protocol-followers, especially in healthcare and education. If you are still in Holland I’ll advise you: go live outside the Randstad. Our public transport is indeed that good that you’ll be in the Randstad in less then an hour 😉

      By the way, I am not a fan of Amsterdam either 😉

    I felt that way a bit when I went to Amsterdam so many years ago. We did love Delft, and all the tulip gardens we visited, but the city didn’t click with me either. But I attributed it to the gloomy weather, the dreary hotel, and the space cake, which was a big mistake. I’m going back in 3 weeks with my two thirteen-year old daughters. We’re staying in an amazing apartment with incredible views. It is already looking up from my last trip. I am optimistic that I’ll feel differently this time.

      I hope you’re able to fall in love this time! I went back a second time and did like Amsterdam a little more, but I don’t think it’ll ever rank as one of my favorite cities – and that’s fine!

    Ha, ha, I’ve just red your blog about Amsterdam and I completely understand you. I live in the Netherlands and Amsterdam is unfortanetely to small for all those tourists (I don’t go there often because of all of the tourists…). Some of the tourist go to Utrecht now which has canals too. But overall the Netherlands are so full of people also without tourists that it is almost no fun to visit the big city’s.

      Yes, there were definitely a lot of tourists. And I just didn’t connect with the city at all. I went back a second time (in the winter) to see if I could find things to love about it, but Amsterdam just isn’t really “my city.” It’s beautiful and I don’t dislike it – I just didn’t fall in love with it!

    I’m about to fly into Amsterdam from Australia next month and I must admit, I’m still very excited. I get it though, sometimes places and people don’t always click – It can be anything from a mood, viewpoint or just a general ‘feel’ of a place that can lack a little zest, but at least you gave it a good shot!

      You may end up loving Amsterdam! (Plenty of people do!) I just personally haven’t found a way to love it – but I still think it’s a very cool city.

    I just stumbled upon this post and have to say I have a love hate relationship with Amsterdam myself. I never understood all the excitement about the city and plainly disliked it, maybe because of that. As I’m starting out to ‘appreciate’ my own country more, I am determined to find and get to know the good parts. I’m actually going to Amsterdam next Saturday to see the light festival there. In my own opinion The Hague is a much more pleasant city to be in and together with Maastricht my favorite big city of the Netherlands. I also need to give Rotterdam a second go. My first experience was a school trip to the docks, which wasn’t very succesful. I’m trying to keep an open mind and give these places another go.

      It’s always a good idea to give places a second chance! I was in Amsterdam again earlier this month. And while I had a good time (the light festival is cool!), I still didn’t fall in love with the city. I guess it’s just not meant to be! And that’s totally okay. 🙂

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