Top 10 'Must haves' for Living in Amsterdam
12 June 2013
For expats new to Amsterdam there are some must-have items that can make your life easier. Some are more obvious than others and all of them are readily available. We have assembled the top lists of our Top 10 Essential Gear for Living in Amsterdam:
The Right Gear for the Dam
Amsterdam is a city unlike any other with regards to lay-out, weather and the people that live there. With these unique characteristics come some unique essentials as well. Here’s our Top 10 Essential Gear for Living in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam has the only multistory bike parking in the world and that kind of says it all. Bikes are a must-have in the city to get around quick and efficiently. There’s many choices ranging from the bare-basics of a “Oma-fiets”, the black women’s bike dominating Amsterdam, to high-end tour bikes, electric bikes and fashionably fixed gear bikes. Accessories like lights are a must-have, although many seem to disagree. As are a “bagagedrager”, the transport rack fitted to the back, front or both.
With a bike comes being out in the open en out in the open in Amsterdam means getting wet. To avoid this, there’s a grand selection of raingear for sale for all budgets. From very cheap and basic to the most expensive types that don’t require a weird sort of dance to take of the pants, by having zippers.
3. Plastic bag for your backside
Again, rain is the reason for this one. From your bike seat to a park bench, it all gets wet and does the same to your bottom if you sit down. It ain't no fun to have your jeans soaked though to your undies, and then be forced to sit at an office desk all day. It stays a bit moist until quitting time! Keep emergency bags stuck under the saddle so you can use it to cover a wet saddle before you ride to school or work.
4. Strong shopping bag
Daily life on a bike means daily shopping on a bike as well. With all the speed bumps, holes, tram tracks and curbs it means you are in need of a solid shopping bag to keep your groceries from spilling out onto the road. A sturdy handle is actually just as important as a bag bottom, especially if you plan to hang it from your handle bars.
A couple of years ago a law passed requiring everybody over 14 to carry a form of I.D., with the risk of a fine if caught without. A Dutch driver’s license is sufficient, do check the rules for foreign ones.
6. English dictionary
If English is not your forte, be sure to grab a [insert native language] – English dictionary to be able to get the most out of the city.
7. Doggy-bags for dog-owners
With Amsterdam being as crowded as it is, cleaning up dog poop is essential and is also heavily fined if left. Always bring plastic bags to clean up after your dog. The city thanks you!
8. Touw en blok
Ever wondered what the beams sticking out from underneath the houses are for? Simply moving stuff. Coming from an era without lifts and staircases being too narrow for anything, the only option was going outside. A rope with a hook on a wheel makes moving bearable, if only just, and is something very unique to Amsterdam.
9. Proper mini-BBQ
You may have noticed we have been mentioning rain a lot, and at times, it seems to be perpetually raining over here. This means the moment the sun shines, people must jump into action! Many dry days are celebrated by barbecuing in the park. We are not big fans of the one-time use disposable BBQ's cos they really damage the environment in many ways. Instead, get yourself a proper mini BBQ to save the environment, the grass in the park and to minimize the chance of self-induced food poisoning.
The Dutch have a habit of not having curtains on the ground floor, with living rooms turning into a live “klucht”, whcih were 14th to 17th century plays focusing on daily life. Unless you are cool with passers-by continually seeing what you are serving up for dinner, working on your laptop or watching on your flatscreen, do yourself a favor and get some proper blinds.
What do you think of our Top 10 Essential Gear for Living in Amsterdam? Leave your comments below!