Where do I feel in my element the most? Immediate answer: among art. That’s probably why the NDSM is (still) one of my happy places in Amsterdam. The Open Ateliers at the complex of the Art City are the best excuse to go check out the ‘hood and see it in all its creative glory. I love photographing art so today I’m sharing a number of the pieces that have caught my attention (there were so many more to be seen, though).
Ah, the beach life
It was one of those rare summer days in The Netherlands, and my destination was the surf school Rapa Nui in Zandvoort, the most famous beach amongst Amsterdammers. This was the meeting point for the Surfana Festival press day. I had heard a lot of good stories about this event but, as a Southern European, the idea of a surf festival in The Netherlands sounded a bit alien. Therefore I was as curious as it gets to see the festival’s premises and learn what they’re exactly about. Since I’ve recently started writing about sustainability for the Iamsterdam blog, Surfana, in their own words “the most beautiful, full of love, coolest and most sustainable festival of the summer”, was something I had to check out.
First time I went to the Concert Gebouw was in 2014. It was a treat from my boss at the time, Riny Reiken from Proeflokaal ‘In de Olofspoort’. We went to watch “Hans and Grietje” which, by the way, is one of my all-time favourite operas. It was a marvellous experience. Besides being my employer, Riny also played the role of a musical tutor in my life. She believed I should pursue a career in singing. I have sung a lot at the “Lied and Klassiek” evenings at the tasting house that this special lady runs and, together, we used to sing a duet from Humperdinck’s opera: “Abends will ich schlafen gehn”. This song moves every part of my soul whenever I hear it.
Now that I have introduced you to my special bond with opera and lyrical singing, you can imagine how enthusiastic I got when the Amsterdam Culture Club invited me to join another of their outings, this time at – just guess – the Royal Concertgebouw.
I’ve written this article upon a special request from Emily Martens, a Magazine Journalism student at the University of Suderland (UK), who’s creating her own project, called ‘Xplore’. Emily invited me to write about places that aren’t typically intended for tourists, that my friends and I would visit. This feels like going ‘back to the roots’ of this blog. I like the idea that I can help younger folks out there make the most of their travelling time. For me, the cliche that states that the best things in life are free lives up to the expectation. This doesn’t come without some creativity at times. That’s when these tips might come in handy. Here’s a little intro, for the ones who are here for the first time…
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* SHFT Happens work-immersion * April 7 * Rent24 (Magna Plaza), Amsterdam
When you start working on a project, whatever the nature of it, it’s like you’re trying to get a rusty engine to work. It will take time until you actually see some sort of motion going on. As cliche as this sounds, all you can do is work hard every day. More often than not, it will take quite a while until something visible occurs because there are no shortcuts to these things. This is especially true when you are starting whatever you’re starting from scratch. When you have no relevant connections in a specific field, sometimes no former education in it, when you have never done it before, starting a project is always a walk in the dark. Even if you have some sense of direction, you can’t really see where you’re heading to. It’s like you’re blindfolded but still, have to make your way to the other side of the road. It makes you nervous because your eyes are not used to the dark. Most people give up before they manage to get to the other side (or turn their engine on, if you will). It is just too much uncertainty. But here’s this: there are ways to make the crossing smoother and less scary. You could find a mentor, go to coaching, surround yourself with creative people, go co-work with people from your field, inspire yourself with the example of more experienced folks. Or you could do all of this at the same time. Usually, that’s when SHFT HAPPENS.