This weird, wonderful place called the Netherlands–picturesque canals next to inappropriate modern art. Cute cafes next to brothels and tourists too high because they ate a second pot brownie when they thought the first one wasn’t kicking in (rookie mistake).
I tried to think of a coherent theme for my time in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Bruges was easy–I am a big fan of In Bruges and it really is a fairytale fucking city. But try as I might, the Netherlands was more elusive for me. I flitted between beautiful art nouveau transom windows and garish public art installations, centuries-old row houses and modern buildings, trying to find some concrete conclusion to draw.
You’ll be in a museum full of old Dutch masters then–Surprise! This glass box holding a bed with two mannequins is in the gallery with you. (Not weird at all.) That’s the thing about the Netherlands–it’s cute and old-fashioned, but modern and unexpected at the same time. A place where cafes and coffee shops are not the same thing. Where you can smoke as much weed as you want, then conveniently binge-buy 10 kilos of waffles or cheese or whatever at the next shop.
It’s like a captivating painting, weird, maybe somewhat disturbing, yet drawing you in. Hooking you so you’re unable to release yourself from its grasp.
Or maybe I’m just being a bit dramatic.