March 9th, 2023 | Why Amsterdam?

why amsterdam

This text was fully written by a human.

During the pandemic, I used to think about my ideal future life a lot and I developed a vision of living in a communal setting away from the big city life. Now, I started wondering: is that what’s best for me? Perhaps what I would need is the exact opposite: a peaceful place in the middle of a big city? 

And then, my thoughts circled back to Amsterdam. I could list tons of reasons why Amsterdam is THE place to place my center of life. In this article, I name just a few of them.

Looking For a Home.

As described in the article “House Is Not Home: How My Travels Influenced My Thoughts About Life,” I am in the process of figuring out where my place in the world is. Yes, self-development and self-discovery go on for a lifetime! 

Currently cruising through the Bay Area, I have a chance to take a second breath and look at my Dutch life from a distance. A year ago I spent three months in central Amsterdam, while now, I’m spending three months near San Francisco. This gives me a fresh look at Amsterdam from a distance, and a comparison between the two.

During the pandemic, I used to think about my ideal future life a lot and I developed a vision of living in a communal setting away from the big city life. Now, I started wondering: is that what’s best for me? Perhaps what I would need is the exact opposite: a peaceful place in the middle of a big city?

After 7 years spent in Warsaw, Poland, I thought to myself that I would never deliberately choose to live in a large city again. But hey, there is such a gap between Warsaw and Amsterdam…

And perhaps, what I need the most is a place where I can close the door behind and rest in silence in the comfort of my own home, but at the same time, I live in a good strategic location with an easy access to people, new and old friends, meetups, conferences, clients, business deals, and all that?

And then, my thoughts circled back to Amsterdam. I could list tons of reasons why Amsterdam is THE place to place my center of life. To list just a few:

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1. The Heart of European Entrepreneurship.

There are debates about what the heart of European entrepreneurship is — whether it is Amsterdam, Berlin, Lisbon, or elsewhere. However the truth is, 93% of all Dutch businesses are registered in Amsterdam or in its close proximity, and the Netherlands is the international tax haven. 

I already learned a little about how entrepreneurship works there, what the business culture is, and how it differs from the business culture in the US (as explained in the article “Startup Culture in Bay Area vs Startup Culture in Amsterdam”). Business in the Netherlands is slow and painfully predictable — which is also a good thing if you seek any safety in this crazy world.

2. International City.

Officially, 51% of the Amsterdam’s inhabitants are expats which means that no one should feel like an outlier in there. If you are an expat with no skill in speaking Dutch, you don’t need to worry or feel off as you will still be in majority. No one will ever feel unwelcome in Amsterdam.

3. Positive Sentiment.

Some cities — and especially touristic sites or university towns — transpire joy, happiness, energy, and inspiration. Amsterdam is one of them. You walk out to the street in the morning and you see all this joy in the streets. Herds of smiling tourists everywhere, enjoy the ride through a beautiful city.

Actually, there is so much interest in tourism that Amsterdam city council set up a cap on tourism as a maximum of 20 million souls per year. In 2021, it was 18 million (!) and the city was barely able to accommodate as many people. 

Moreover, everyone who ever visited Amsterdam, smiles at the bare memory of the experience. Beautiful architecture, romantic canals, cozy cafes, Belgian beers, herds of bikers and a happy crowd, clearly impress people.

And, Americans love Amsterdam too! I cannot count how many times I’ve heard declarations of willingness to come see Amsterdam. In the eyes of Americans, the city seems to be a materialization of European culture, with its culture, cleanliness, order, and equality.

4. Social Life.

Amsterdam hosts so many meetups every day that you couldn’t make it to all of them, even if you narrow down the option to one area of business or culture — it’s just impossible. 

Moreover, after the pandemic, there is such an outburst of events and so much competition that YOU are the king as a meetup participant. While in 2019 you had to pay the tickets at the entrance, now in 2023 you are welcome for free, and the organizers pour free drinks down your throat.

The buildings are built tight and toward the sky which causes everything to happen close and usually within walking distance. At the same time, despite the density of buildings and people, the city still feels cozy: there are no skyscrapers and people in the streets don’t seem to rush too much.

5. Good Life in General.

We all have our favorite lifestyle, however, life in the Netherlands feels like it was crafted for me. The whole country is clean and well organized. The tap water is crystal clear and with high pH, and even the basic food is of excellent quality. In 12 years never have I ever found one perished tomato in the grocery.

The Dutch residents can enjoy high purchasing power as the earnings are high compared to the living costs. Frankly, they have nothing to complain about (perhaps this is why the Dutch often complain about the weather…).

The country is also full of saunas, where you can spend quality time and give your body great rest and recharge at a very low cost. Since I juggle many projects in daily life, I prefer to spend my free time relaxing and recharge, so proximity to saunas is what perfectly works for me. 

I also love the Dutch interior design — all needs to be “gezellig” (namely, “cozy”) which is usually achieved with minimalistic design and proper lighting.

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6. A Good Country to Be In.

Next, the Netherlands is organized just perfectly as a country. 

Healthcare and childcare work like a Swiss clock. Human rights are respected, and the government is protective toward their citizens. Whenever I land on Dutch soil, I feel safe as I know that the government is there to help residents and not look for every way to find them or put them in prison. Government and public offices address you with respect and don’t ever try to break your privacy.

The government is stable and the corporate law changes very slowly which means that this is a safe and stable environment for businesses. There is a minimal retirement amount even if you’ve never worked a day in your life, so that no one will end up in the street. 

7. People’s Values.

Next, Dutch people’s values make living in the Netherlands even easier and more pleasant. The Duchies are modest, minimalistic, and utilitarian by nature. They are also not consumeristic — they wouldn’t blindly buy a product just because it’s new. When successful, they don’t flex with their wealth. They don’t buy fancy cars and they don’t wear fancy suits. 

They are also polite and keep their composure without saying anything that might potentially be offensive or inappropriate. There is even a Dutch saying: “Behave normal as it is crazy enough.” In 12 years, never have I ever heard one sexist joke or inappropriate comment about my looks. Which is a nice refreshment compared to Poland or the US. 

Lastly, the Dutch are into natural people with natural looks and do not compare to others. Living in the Netherlands for so many years genuinely healed me from complexes. And aging is certainly not scary here; elderly people enjoy life just the same as youngsters — they dance together at carnival parties and go to bars just like their kids and grandkids. Life doesn’t end at 40 here.

The only thing is: the Dutch sometimes don’t appreciate what they have. They are complainers who have no idea that they are probably in the best place to be on Planet Earth. They will find any smallest inconvenient detail to point to and complain about. I sometimes wonder if making an educational program for the Dutch people dedicated to increasing their awareness about the beauty of their own country wouldn’t be a good idea. 

8. Perfect Location.

The truth is, Amsterdam is perfectly located in the center of Europe, with its enormous airport, Schiphol (the world’s third busiest airport by international passenger traffic in 2021) and its biggest harbor in Europe, Rotterdam just behind the corner. It is so well positioned that you don’t really move anywhere from here to meet anyone you want — they will all come to you sooner or later.

Which means that it would probably greatly benefit my business to have a guest bedroom  in a good spot that can be used by any guests coming from the US or Poland, or elsewhere. I could show them around and make tighter bonds that can then lead to new business ideas.

Lastly, Amsterdam is close enough to my parents place and getting there by plane is really easy. A flight home takes less than 2 hours, while a direct flight to San Francisco in only 9-10 hours. I would also be close to my property in Nijmegen, which is 1.5 hours by train away from Central Amsterdam.

9. The Language.

I certainly don’t enjoy learning languages and the Dutch was painful to learn. However during the pandemic I made my effort to learn the basic, conversational Dutch and so I already semi-speak the language. It is a matter of practice like 10 minutes a day for the next few years to keep going and finally speak it reasonably well. Which makes me feel even more like home.

10. Intuition.

Last but not the least, we have the best indicator of all: intuition. I’ve seen enough places to feel in my gut that “this is it.” Of course, in your twenties, you’ve got to trade and see places to get the idea of how the world looks. 

But at some point in your life your sampling period ends and then you need to make a decision: this is it, all pieces of the puzzle fit together. And that’s how I feel about Amsterdam…

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Summary: Amsterdam Is Cool — And I’m Not The Only One Who Noticed.

As a matter of fact, the prices of real estate in Amsterdam are skyrocketing at the moment but I feel like it will only get worse with time. The new, after-pandemic job market caused more and more people to be traveling, working remotely, comparing cities with each other… and they will come to the exact same conclusion as me.

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What do you think of the city? Is it worth overpaying  for a property so that you can enjoy the benefits of living in this godly city?

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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2023, March 9th). Why Ansterdam? Retrieved from:

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