Recently I discovered the Lonely Planet channel on Youtube. They regularly publish some videos about their destinations.
What I always liked about Lonely Planet, was that they try to capture the true soul of a city. However, most of the videos I watched seemed to be very much focused on the tourist highlights, which was very disappointing for me as a (former) Lonely Planet guidebook addict.
In this article, I will review the video about Amsterdam, the city I’ve lived in for more than 10 years now.
The first detail that struck me is that it’s summer in the video, while it’s winter here in Amsterdam now… This is also one of the reasons I’m not too fond about their paper guidebooks anymore. While visiting a city, my Lonely Planet cityguide often recommended a nice outside terraces while it was freezing cold outside. This is why, on our cityblogs, we only write about Spots that are nice to visit at the current time of the year. Our Spotters keep their articles up-to-date, always.
Erin Richards, who made the video, says she has lived in Amsterdam, and even married here. She seems like a very friendly woman, but I can safely say 80% of the recommendations she talks about in the video, are very un-local and very touristy… (and I can say for sure The Netherlands does not border France and Luxembourg!)
For Erin, the perfect day in Amsterdam includes a canal boat tour, the Van Gogh-museum, go to the Flower-market, go to the red-light district and a coffeeshop. And go out at the Leidseplein area. Well, anybody with some knowledge about Amsterdam could have thought of this.
Canal Boat tour? Never done that. The Van Gogh Museum? Please… there are so many other good museums without any queues..(although it is a good museum. Our Spotter Patty wrote about it ;) ). The Flower Market? Never been there. The Red-light district? You will find more tourists there than locals. And many of the locals you do encounter are junkies. A coffeeshop? Not much fun anymore, since the smoking ban… The Leidseplein bars? Yes, this is where you find the neon-signs and… practically only tourists. I hardly ever go out in that area.
The recommendations Erin makes, are exactly what most end up doing in Amsterdam. Such a shame! I think it’s quite shocking to see a former local explain Amsterdam this way, and not talk about the real treasures. I think Lonely Planet could have found a better “local”. I’ll happily volunteer!
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