New amsterdam

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Last week I wrote about the problems occurring in Amsterdam at the moment (Metro line undermining the city houses, all important musea being rebuilded). I hope I did not give the false impression that I am an Amsterdam basher. I love Amsterdam, I find it a privelige to work in this city. Whenever I come back from whatever city in the world, and walk in the city I say to myself ‘Amsterdam can compete with the best of the city’s in the world’. I love the sight at the Rijksmuseum that I have from my office (even if the renovation takes another two ages). I even love the double speak signal that says ‘open’, signifying that during the two decades of reconstruction, you can only view the top pieces in an improvised environment.


Another city I would like to live in is New York. But hey, that’s Amstermdam! New York was build as New Amsterdam. In a wonderfull book from Russell Shorto (The island at the centre of the world, see Russels homepage:, Russel analyses how the special cultural atmosphere in New York is to be connected to the early Dutch (=Amsterdam) influence. This is a wonderfull example of how systems are extremely sensitive to starting conditions.

Actually I think of New York as ‘Amsterdam, the city’ and of Amsterdam as ‘Amsterdam the village’. If there is anyting special about Amsterdam it is the fact that it has a city culture, but the looks of a village.