The urban nomad

Six years: still no house

Right now, all the things I own are stored in three different houses in Amsterdam. Most of them are housed in a storeroom of this couple friend of mine who lives in Ijburg, in the large house they own. Then I have some other stuff in the Westerpark area, at the place of another friend who has also been the caregiver of my cats while I can’t have them with me. He also owns his house. Finally, I have one piece of luggage and a backpack which I carry with me everywhere, with the essentials for everyday life. Currently, I am staying in the area of Museumplein (I know, I know). This other couple friend went on holiday and offered their home for me to plant sit while they’re away. Thank god they are not like most people in Amsterdam who will Airbnb their place at the first opportunity. If they had done that they would be now basically enjoying a free holiday. Airbnb prices here are similar to hotel ones so it is easy to understand why people do it so massively in this city. This also helps explain why, from a market point of view, is it not the first time that I am in the ‘homelessness’ situation in the almost six years I’ve been living over here.

Continue reading

A place called H/eart.h

Once upon a time, two young Italian men decided to act on their vision of a vegetarian cafe with delicious and balanced meals to nourish bodies and minds, a place that could function as an inspiring chill out room as well as a podium for different artists. They called it H/eart.h, which sounds like the name of a long lost tribe of people, united by the love of art, musical gatherings, and tiramisu. An oasis in the buzzy Albert Cuypstraat, right in De Pijp, one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Amsterdam.

Continue reading

Say hello to Elise Gherlan

I kept on bumping into her. We met for the first time at an Instagrammers event and then we stumbled upon each other at the Creative Mornings. She was cheerful, super talkative, and she came across as a real creative entrepreneur because she not only had loads of ideas but also the sort of energy which is necessary to put them into practise. The second time we met she told me, “I took a nice photo of you, last time at the meet-up, you know? I’ll send it over.” The next morning I had the photo you see on the right bar of the blog in my e-mail box. I had a wow-reaction. I was kick-starting Amsterdive at the time, so the picture came in handy. Elise’s kindness stuck to me.

Continue reading

Amsterdam: let us be nice(r) to each other

The “attitude”

Some expats say the problem is “the Dutch”, some Dutch might say it’s “too many foreigners”, and we all generally like to blame it on the tourists. It is a well-known phenomenon: Amsterdam’s population is not exactly welcoming. Maybe the tourists don’t notice it that much, but when living here you might start feeling this sort of tension building up. Let’s start with the obvious: the cycling culture. Bikes are all over the place and have a general disregard for “rules”. There are bike traffic jams, the cyclists are stressed, they have this habit of overtaking each other, they ring their bells furiously. They also run over anyone who attempts at crossing the cycle path – sometimes even when it’s red for bikes. Above all, they like to frighten tourists to death (other than this, we are all very normal, and we all act very normally).

Continue reading

Amsterdive’s Cultural Agenda: August

 [Amsterdive’s Cultural Agenda is a selection of art + cultural activities for the city of Amsterdam. Every listed event includes a link to its website, and a reference in case the entrance is free of charge. Make sure to follow Amsterdive’s Facebook page for weekly updates]

(want to go straight to the point? click on “continue reading” for the events)

I’m back from my mini sabbatical. I did miss writing cultural agendas this past month. It feels good to have an overview of the interesting things going on in the city and to curate the cultural possibilities Amsterdam offers us, even if – as you can imagine – I cannot attend all of the events that I highlight. This is a bit of a weird job to do, at times, if I think that I spend time working on something so ephemerous. I mean, one writes everything down after hours of research, nice and carefully, and then puff! the thing is gone. Whether you’ve been to the event or not, it is over, and nobody ever cares to go back to that one article again. Other than that, it is also an intangible, never-ending job. You can keep on organizing agendas for your whole entire life and you might have a feeling you are not accomplishing anything, as opposed to a thoughtful essay or article, which is supposed to have a long lifespan. But then there’s this: the cultural agendas are useful. Not just for me, but for others as well. This way, I hope I can be of service. I mean, I might write about a very interesting festival but if I never let people know in advance when and where is it happening, making possible for others to experience it too, I feel I am doing just half of the job.

To ease everything out though, Amsterdive’s agendas are going to be published monthly from now on and will be updated weekly. So that we all have a reason to come back to it for one whole entire month. AND, from September on, we are going to have contributors sparkling everything up with their best advice.

Without further ado, here are some events I’d like to highlight for the rest of the month of August. If you get overwhelmed with so many options, feel free to shoot me a message: I can help you out navigating this list.

Continue reading

I’m still in love with youuu booooy

I came back with no expectations. After one month in London, Oslo, Copenhagen, and last but not the least, Where The Sheep Sleep, my feelings could have changed. Moreover, we went through very difficult times, the last couple of months together. I mean, I’ve always known my feelings but, regarding love, you have to leave some space for things to evolve. It is so easy to get caught up in the routine and stagnate into boredom and nagging, but when you let things breathe and give yourself the chance to look at it from a distance, love might bloom once more. I was pretty cautious when I came back. I didn’t shed a tear of emotion when I landed (but I must admit I smiled from within when I arrived in Central Station). I was home. And my home was as beautiful as I remember it. So I basically started making a mental list of reasons why it is great to be back to this long-lasting case of love in my life, called Amsterdam.

Why is it good to be back in Amsterdam:

(If I was writing for SEO I would have made the sentence above the title for this post, right?)

Continue reading

London diaries III: Celino and The Tate Modern


There were two things I absolutely loved about my trip to London. On a personal level, the reencounter with friends I have known for years and who have been very influential in my life. From an objective point of view, the museums. London is an extraordinary place when it comes to world-class art, and I believe there are few places on the planet that can rival that aspect. I have just visited four art museums + a couple of galleries, but art is everywhere in London, really. From the subway to the streets, including markets, cafes and abandoned public spaces. We can argue against the ways the British got hold of a lot of foreign art in their possession. For instance, the British Museum ought to be named after “The Museum of Culture Representation in Britain”, or “The stuff we got by means of British Imperialism”, or quite simply, “Shouldn’t we be flying to Asia, Africa, and America instead?”. But instead of focusing on the political ethics of the whole thing, the goal of this article is to tell you about moments of enlightenment I experienced in London. These are a synonym to art and friends, so I decided to combine one museum to each friend I met in the city. This is thus the first part of the series Museums & Friends.

Continue reading

London diaries II: an unexpected encounter

I had decided to start a very brave coffee-less walk from King’s Cross, along the Regents Canal, in the hopes that the Camden Lock Market, which I would find along the way, could fix the issue. My attempts at searching for a place to work at, with a proper cappuccino on the side, hadn’t been very successful that morning. Nevertheless, the Regent’s Canal looked promising in all it’s picturesque features, with green all around and some astonishing architecture to catch a sight of. That walk was certainly one of the favorite things I’ve done in London.

Continue reading

London diaries I: OH. wow.

London welcomed me in the usual grey skies terms and overwhelming fashion I was expecting. You get in and then out of the tube and you’re immediately part of this crowd of slow tourists and stressed out businessmen, a general mass of working class bodies, plus the fashion oriented creatures, and the immigrants, and the hipsters, and the homeless, and whatnot; the soundtrack being this babylon of an endless series of accents and languages, and cars and sirens and trains and honks and construction works and live instruments and advertisment and friendly voices who tell you to mind the gap, watch your possessions or that, actually, you have just arrived to your destination. This is the epithome of the Western fast-faster-the fastest type of pace (European style) but then there’s also this contrasting feeling of steadiness and solemny exuding from every monument, every corner, every stone. So much History concentrated in just one city.

Continue reading