Today we have an interview with Bart Verbunt, Spotter for our Amsterdam cityblog
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I have been studying for eight years now: finished a study in Business Administration four years ago but decided that the subject did not exhaust my appetite for knowledge. After two years of Film Studies I switched to Philosophy. For the latter I hope to earn my Bachelor degree this summer. Studying at two different universities on a lot of different locations gave me plenty of opportunities to get to know Amsterdam and its inhabitants.
For two years now I’ve been working in a cinema called Kriterion (check the Kriterion article). It is run by students, so anyone working there is expected to participate in organising events and festivals, and running the business. I am still discovering what you might call the cultural industry of Amsterdam and I like it.
Do you have a nice Spotters-story?
Whenever I have friends over from abroad I take on the roll of tour guide. Being a spotter gives me the same chance to look at Amsterdam with the eyes of a stranger. This is a beautiful city and I find this even more so when I don’t take it for granted.
Why Amsterdam? What is a must do when you visiting Amsterdam? What not?
Go to Amsterdam because it has the charm of a small village, but the liveliness of a metropolis.
If you do, walk around. Amsterdam is not a big city, there are a lot of beautiful things cramped onto a relatively small amount of space. Don’t take all year leads from the guidebooks, but take the chance to explore all of Amsterdam’s neighbourhoods on your own.
The don’t is obvious: don’t go to a coffee shop fresh upon your arrival, because you will get wasted and you will lose a day of enjoying all other things that our city has to offer. Furthermore, the red light district and Damrak are unpleasant and crowded places where you will feel like a tourist.
Which prejudices about Amsterdam are true? Which ones are not?
Although most people do smoke weed from time to time, it is not our most important pastime. In general, coffeeshops aren’t very enjoyable places. If the rumor has reached you that people from Amsterdam are a bit direct, even rude sometimes: yes, it is so.
Although the Amsterdammers may not be amongst the most well-mannered people, you should not let direct remarks fool you, a lot of us like it when someone bursts our defensive bubble. When you are used to hearing at least three different languages immediately upon leaving your door, you don’t lift your head every time you run into someone from abroad. This does not mean however that we don’t like to get to know you when we’re having a beer in a pub. On the contrary.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
A perfect day in Amsterdam might for instance consist of spending the afternoon reading in the public library, the beginning of the evening in the park, and the end of the evening in De Nieuwe Anita, OT301 (check the OT301 article) or Kriterion for a movie. This is only in case I have some spare time on my hands of course.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters