Interview with Tomek Otto (Amsterdam Spotter)

Spotted By Locals
October 22, 2010
3 min read

Today an interview with Tomek Otto. Our latest Amsterdam Spotter for the Amsterdam cityblog.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
“In der asphaltstadt bin ich daheim” – Bertoldt Brecht put it quite right when he wrote this. I consider myself an urban adventurer and prefer the city above all else. As a friend once said: Sure a green area is nice..when it’s surrounded by four concrete walls.

I thrive on the busy streets and good architecture can make my day. The parks are what is my take on nature and provide for the necessary escape once in a while. I work as a pilot (B737) for KLM hence travel a lot within Europe. In Amsterdam I do know my way around, but for the other cities in Europe it was always harder to find the good spots. Luckily I stumbled upon this site, and, after using it myself a lot, I decided to share my ‘spots’ in Amsterdam with anyone visiting the site.

How do yo like being a Spotter?
I haven’t figured out why I like spotting for this site so much. I’ve never had any ambition to write or in any other way make public work, yet it does feel really good. Whenever there are friends coming over from abroad, I want to show them what’s so great about the city. This is the online version of that.

Quite funny..I was on holidays some weeks ago and was sat next to two guys at the bar. We talked a bit and suddenly he started lamenting how hard it is to discover a city when you don’t know any locals. I was so pleased to hand him a Spotted by Locals business card solving this problem!

Why Amsterdam?
I’ve wanted to live in Amsterdam for at least two decades. Its the attraction of a big (for dutch standards) and international city rather nearby. But I’ve only come to appreciate the majestic qualities of the city after moving here. Whether chilling in the Westerpark, biking through the Jordaan or along the canals on a sunny day, drinking hot chocolate in a cosy bar, when the sleet just pours down or enjoying a concert in the renowned concerthall, this is where I feel at home and what I’m proud to show to others.

Do take a boattour on the canals because it gives a different view of the city and shows how much water is a part of it. Alternatively take the free ferry from the central station to NDSM-werf where many creative companies have settled.

I can’t recommend to stay long in the red-light district. I guess it’s something you must have seen but after the obligatory stroll along the red neons, leave this overcrowded and touristy area. Also Madame tussauds is something I would skip.

What do you know about Amsterdam what no tourist will know?
To be honest..I think this whole site is about what the locals know and tourists (usually)don’t. So browse the articles and find out.

Is there something else you want to share?
I’m really happy that the site is doing so well and that more and more people are finding out about it. Of course winning the prestigious ‘Guardian and Observer award’ is also a real boost. Good to be part of the team.

Check out all Tomek Otto’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters.


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