Can you tell us a bit about who you are, and what you do?
I am Gisela Clarke. 25 years old, born and raised in Amsterdam. At the moment I live in the eastern part of Amsterdam, and I really enjoy it! I’m in the middle of my master’s degree in Communication at the University of Amsterdam. At the moment I’ve just started writing my masters thesis.
Besides studying I work at a coffee shop and am of course a Spotter, which I really enjoy mainly because I love to write. I also keep a weblog (in Dutch).
Like being a Spotter?
I love being a spotter; especially because I’ve been on holiday so many times not really knowing where to go and actually wishing I would know where the locals hang out. Amsterdam is obviously a great city but you can really enjoy it to the fullest if you know some of the lovely places where the locals go. This really makes a city trip to Amsterdam complete.
Why Amsterdam? There is really a lot to see and do here and because the city is very small you can easily walk around the different area and see lots and lots in a short time. I love the vibe of Amsterdam especially at the moment now that the weather is starting to get warm and sunny. This makes everyone happy and you can just see that everybody needs to get out. This can make it quite chaotic on the streets as well.
When you visit Amsterdam you must at have a drink somewhere on a terrace by the water. This can be in the city centre on one of the canals, or for some more peace and quiet somewhere at the Amstel (see this article) or IJ river for instance at the Ysbreker, Kaap Kot or Wilhelmina Dok.
I would definitely give a miss to the red light district (depressing), the Rokin (filthy and busy for no reason) and renting a bike if you have never cycled in a city before (DANGEROUS!!!) I understand it’s attraction but mostly the tourists I see on the bikes are just really dangerous!
Which prejudices about Amsterdam are true?
I think the prejudice that Amsterdam is an open minded city is still true. People have been saying that this is becoming less and less but I still love the city for all the different sorts of people that live here and the fact that mostly everyone minds his or her own business (in a good way…).
It is definitely not true that everyone here smokes weed al the time. Just the other day someone asked me where they could get some weed and if I didn’t have any I could sell or if I didn’t know someone. I’m sort but I never smoke and also don’t sell any of it!!
What is the most popular neighbourhood to live in Amsterdam at this moment?
At the moment the eastern part of Amsterdam and The Pijp are two of the most popular areas to live. The eastern part is nice and not touristy at all, the Pijp is busier and more touristy. So it depends on what you like more. I think if you are visiting Amsterdam you would enjoy staying in the Pijp. It is full of restaurants, bars, lunch places, nice shops and a very popular market. There is definitely always something to do there!
Which time of the year you like most in your city and why?
I loooooooooooove spring and summer! My ideal summers day in Amsterdam is sitting on my balcony in the sun, then going out to get a coffee somewhere and enjoy it in the sun, then meeting up with friends somewhere on a terrace and enjoying a glass of wine (or more) till it gets dark and then we will just see what the evening brings us!
Read all of Gisela’s articles here.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters.