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Quarterly for international students studying at the University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Goodbye Edition Winter ‘13

colophon Insiders is a magazine for students involved in the international student life of Amsterdam in one way or another. Bachelor and Master students studying at the UvA and the HvA, plus students otherwise involved with ISN, as ISNcoach, ISN-Committee members, ISN-buddies and other ISN-enthusiastics are invited to read and or to participate in producing Insiders. This magazine is published twice per semester. Forming a beginning, an ending or an extension to an extraordinary time in Amsterdam. Would you like to share your experiences in Amsterdam with your fellow students, do you have other ideas for the Insiders or do you want to cooperate with ISN? Contact us for a publication in the next Insiders:

CREDITS Editor: Floor Oudendijk & Femke van Weperen Design: Femke van Weperen Cover: Femke van Weperen Writers: Elodie Glerum, John Dahl Guestwriters: Tobias Hausdorf, Ross Vercoe


International Student Network Amsterdam Nieuwe achtergracht 170 1018 WV Amsterdam +31 (0) 205253721


Dear Members of ISN Amsterdam, First of all: we would like to thank you all for making this semester as amazing as we hoped it would be. Make sure that you have done the following things, before leaving the country: - Scared the crap out of a few tourist when riding your bike through Leidseplein. - Eaten a whole package of Stroopwafels, without feeling sick afterwards. - Orderd beer (or other drinks) in Dutch, with the bartender actually understanding what you just said. - Complained about the weather. Just like dutch people ALWAYS do. - Made Dutch Pancakes for breakfast. Although we eat it for dinner. They taste delicious for breakfast as well! - Sat in the Vondelpark (having a picnic), for a few hours and spend most of the time just watching all those crazy people passing by. - Walked along the canals for quite some time. - Got lost in the city. Without even wanting to find the way back, since you discovered that there still is so much more waiting to be discovered. - Eaten a ‘Haring’. Yes we know: it is raw fish. Yes there are onions and pickles right beside the raw fish. But seriously: have you tried it? It tastes pretty damn good. - Danced like there would be no tomorrow around Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein. - Made the best few months out of your life, while on exchange. Whatever you did, visited or experienced in the past few months: we hope it was as amazing as you dreamed it would be! 3























Are you a REAL

amsterdammer? A little checklist for you to make sure you became a real Dutchie and ‘Amsterdammer’ : 1.Were you the proud owner of a fiets?

2. Do you think you’re invincible when riding your bike and none of the traffic rules or

3. Did you eat a bitterbal whilst enjoying a Heineken? 4. Did you go for a run in the famous Vondelpark?


5. Do you know that flickeringcandles, among other things, increases gezelligheid?

6. Do you know that Santa Claus traditions are inspired on the idea of Sinterklaas?

7. Do you bring drop, stroopwafels and gouda with you on vacation?

8. You’re proud of the fact that drugs and prostitutes are legal in The Netherlands. (You don’t do them though.)

9. Do you prefer to hold your pee instead of paying €0,50 cents for the bathroom?

10. You don’t have a problem saying NEE to someone’s face. It’s not impolite, it’s honest.



I was in no way prepared for Amsterdam; despite what I formerly thought. From the beginning of writing up applications to university – which feels decades ago despite it being a mere 3 – I was sure I wanted to go on exchange; though if I’m honest, the University of Vienna had been my original ‘preferred destination’. Amsterdam wasn’t chosen till the night before submission; a spontaneous moment that decided where I would be spending the next twelve months of my life. With it being confirmed I would be going to the Netherlands, The odd googling of the city only went so far as to reinforce what little false pre-conceived ideas of her I had; both positive and negative. I was going crazy from anticipation waiting until I left a surprisingly summery 20 degree weather Edinburgh behind. Arriving, settling and, most importantly, exploring was made so much easier by the university and all those who helped in the initial hectic days. Housed the way we are, meeting people from across the globe with different backgrounds was a near half-hourly experience. This would then be positively reinforced by the magnificent work of ISN and the days they organised for all the exchange students.


- Written by Ross Vercoe

The setting in this beautiful city was perfect. We were gifted clear skies and soft sunlight. more used to seeing shopping trollies in the rougher parts of Edinburgh’s long-winding canal, I fell in love with Amsterdam’s. Seeing boats drift along was majestic as their image was distorted and reflected in the gleaming windows placed uniform along the opposing buildings. University in mainland Europe is somewhat different to what I’m used to in the UK. One has come from gaping auditoriums housing 200 students for several hour lectures to more personal classes where one will grow used to seeing familiar faces throughout the term. There is also an added emphasis on the likes of homework and lecturers trying to ensure work is carried out throughout the term instead of concentrated in the latter third during exam times.

I somewhat stumbled upon Amsterdam, having never had the pleasure of venturing outside of Schiphol previous, and with no real expectations borne out of previous experience – either my own or those of friends’ – I was gifted the absolute delight of getting to experience everything with a fresh eye. A common question is what I enjoy most about Amsterdam. It’s hard to put a finger on it. I enjoy the culture and character of the people, the weather is a milder version of the UK and the city itself is beautiful. I’ve met some incredible people and reunited with a few last seen over a decade ago in a different continent. The first four months of Amsterdam have flown by.


FIND SOME DUTCHNESS IN EVERY CONTINENT You are leaving Holland now, but do not feel lost! You can find Holland everywhere, in every continent. You can find your favourite European country all over the world, here is just a little list of where to find them! JAPAN-ASIA Located in the mountains of Japan, in a town named Sasebo (Nagasaki) there is even a theme park dedicated to Holland. It is called Huis ten Bosch, after the home of the abdicated Queen. In this theme park there are about 6 kilometres of canals, 40000 trees and 30000 flowers. Whenever you are fed up with eating sushi, just go there and have one of the Dutch delicatessen. ITALY- EUROPE For the more cultural interested people among us, artists voted the Uffizi in Florence as most beautiful museum in the world. In this museum a whole wing is dedicated to the most famous Flemish and Dutch masters of the Golden Age, the 1700s. Paintings of Rembrandt and Rubens are shown here, next to the most beautiful paintings of the Italian renaissance, such as the birth of Venus by Botticelli.


I D b am n i w

O to h t

re, ld,

UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA Besides the fact that there are several references to the Dutch history in the US, such as Brooklyn referring to Breukelen, the village near Utrecht and Harlem referring to the city of Haarlem. And what do you think about Wall Street in New York? Dutchies call the Red Light District “de wallen”, the outliers of the city where prostitutes would offer their services. Not only the similarity between names in the US is visible, there is a whole village dedicated to the Dutch way of life. This one is not miniature, such as in Japan. This is a theme park in Holland (MI), where you can dance the way Dutch people used to AUSTRALIA In Australia there is a island named after a Dutchman, namely Tasmania. It is described as “a place where you can find yourself amongst landscapes that are the most stunning in the world.” Besides, that this island is home to one of the rarest species in the world, the Tasmanian Devil, which you can see there walking freely. Of course, we hope to welcome you soon to Amsterdam anytime soon. But for now; hopefully these suggestions will help you through your after-exchange-depression!



Most people will be happy to explain Acda & De Munnik to you. They will be less excited to talk about Jan Smit, and they won’t talk about Dries Roelvink (unless it is about his famous yellow underpants) at all. But since most of you won’t be able to understand the lyrics, lets talk about some good Dutch artist whose lyrics are in English! English

CARO EMERALD: Is singing pop and jazz sounding songs. ‘That Man’ and ‘A night like this’ will be stuck inside your head forever. ‘Back it up’ is nice to listen to, and you should also put the song ‘stuck’ on repeat. She is talented. You should listen to her music.

RACOON: is a very talented band with lots of great music! Do you feel like singing and dancing along, play: ‘feel like flying’, feel like ALAIN CLARK stole the heart of many people when he performed the song crying? listen to: Don’t give up the fight. ‘Father & Friend’ with his own father. Don’t know what you feel like? Listen to all ‘Blow me away’ is a very catchy song of their other songs such as ‘Liverpool rain’, and ‘Hold on’ will make you hold on ‘No mercy’ or ‘Happy Family’, we promise to playing the song. And for the ladies: you that it wont be a waste of time. look at his face. Isn’t he cute?

ANOUK: You might now her as a contributor of GOLDEN EARRING Music that our the Eurovision Contest with the song: ‘Birds’. We parents listen to.. but still: their music is know her as a kickass rockchick singing aweso- good and their ultimate hit ‘Radar Love’ me songs such as: ‘Nobody’s wife’, ‘R U Kiddin’ has been a worldwide success. Especially me’ and ‘Girl’. Also the songs ‘Lost’ and ‘Michel’ ‘Johnny make believe’, ‘weekend love’ are absolutely worth your while.. and ‘when the lady smiles’ are pretty 12 good!




W I b r

W w a b m n o r u t t A v M f


A ‘lekker’ Weekend in Maastricht What’s the best way to spend a weekend? I guess there are a lot of possible answers, but the Discover Holland tour to Maastricht really set the bar high. With about 50 fun people from all over the world, I went to Maastricht for two nights at the end of September. For a hundred bucks we did quite a lot of things. The ISN members did a good job to feed us the first night, with a barbecue at our hostel, right on the river Maas. The next day we had a river cruise to the Caves where we took an underground tour. Nothing special to see there actually, but the guide was funny and there were some drawings on the walls. Afterwards, we had some time for ourselves to explore the city and for sightseeing. Maastricht is really nice and quite different from Amsterdam.

For dinner we went to a restaurant and we could choose from several dishes which were included in the price. I had a lekker burger by the way. With our bellies stuffed, we were ready for the drinking game at a bar. That was just awesome: the beer was for free and unlimited. So what’s the catch? Well, the only condition was to participate in the drinking game. It was really fun because the ISN members came up with some punishments. The next morning we took the bus to the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial, which was quite impressive. Then, we went to the Drielandenpunt, where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet. And hey its also the highest point of the Netherlands with about 320 meters! I enjoyed a short walk in Germany there and then we headed back to Amsterdam with a lot of impressions and new friends. It was a great opportunity to get to know people and of course the Netherlands. 13


So you’re about to leave Amsterdam. You better get prepared. It’s going to suck. Because Amsterdam is one of the coolest cities on the planet. Where else can you find the combination of gorgeous canals and a party scene as gorgeous (just in another way). Where else can you ride your bike across town in less than one hour, and still be in a cosmopolitan city. Where else can you find the gezelligheid. The smell of pot and fries in the morning. The tolerance. Zwarte Piet. And you are not only leaving Amsterdam. You’re ending your Erasmus.


-Written by John Dahl -

Having lived a carefree life with a bunch of international friends, exploring, drinking, cooking, sleeping together as one big, absurd family, you have to return to real life now.You probably had the best (half)year of your life. After this, it’s only going down. Believe me. I’m one of the lucky few that will stay in Amsterdam (sometimes it’s cool being a master student!), and have already had my ending-, my-erasmus-going-home experience. It was not nice.

The saddest thing is that however strong you believe, whatever safe plan you make, you won’t manage to stay in contact with people. People you believed would be your lifetime friends. I guess this is one of the lessons we all have to learn to grow up. In fact, that only makes it worse. Still, there are some ways to survive your divorce with Amsterdam and Erasmus life. First lesson: Make a real effort to stay in contact with the good people! Skype with each other, preferably wearing an overpriced UvA-sweater or that terrible Amsterdam hat you bought in a souvenir shop a drunk and cold night out. It will make you surprisingly nostalgic and you’ll start to remember all these small, funny episodes you shared together. Send stupid things from your home country to your friends for their birthdays. Write each other real letters, it creates much stronger bonds than Facebook chat.

Second lesson: Take Holland home. Listen to Dutch radio on the Internet. Check ou which movies ISN screened at their Dutch Movie Nights, and watch them again in your coach in Mantova, Winnipeg or Taipei. You can also learn to make some Dutch delicacies: Both Stamppot and Vlaamse Frites are really easy dishes to make yourself. Fill your suitcase with Kruidnoten. Celebrate Sinterklaas. Third lesson: Think about the things back home you missed while being abroad, and what new adventures you are embarking on. Life is good, also after Erasmus, also other places than Amsterdam. Almost as good, sometimes. But just almost.


I LIVED IN A CONTAINER -Written byElodie Glerum Convenient. Big. Not far from the city. Full of parties! When asked about their life experience in a container, students seem overall pretty enthusiastic. “Even if at first glance, the containers don’t look particularly appealing, I had a great time there” says Jean-Mohammed(22), a Swiss-Moroccan student who spent one semester at the UvA. While doing his academic exchange, he shared a flat with another international student in Gevleweg. And he doesn’t regret spending some time in the socalled Container City of Houthavens, near Westerpark. “Of course, the greyish walls and the shady green lights of the corridors give a bad first impression. But it’s largely compensated by the fact that the apartments are quite spacious, compared with other student houses in town. And you can be sure that there will be at least one party or a pre-drink every weekend.”

Charlotte (20), is Dutch. She lived just opposite, until she left for an exchange in France. As many students in Houthavens, she used to have her “own container” and was very happy with it. “I like having my own room, my own bathroom and my own kitchen, but also to be able to meet a lot of people.” Yet, she also criticises the anonymity of the place, recalling the long empty floors of this huge student housing. “I enjoy the fact that it is full of international students, but it is also quite difficult to meet one another. Fortunately, we can do it via Facebook. There is as special page for the inhabitants of the Stavangerweg/ Gevleweg containers.” When asked about her best memory here, Taiwanese-American Juliette (24), recalls the warm and friendly atmosphere that struck her on the little pier of the harbour: “Enjoying circle of joints with a bunch of friends from the container on the smoker’s bridge, or a window joint with the amazing night water view.


Truffle night is definitely the most unforgettable. Vondelpark picnics on sunny days, Van Gogh Museum, Westerpark, ADE, painting murals on a friend’s wall are just a few of the highlights.” Her experience in Amsterdam was clearly a success and she will miss the place.

Of course, not everything is bright in Houthavens. But JeanMohammed, Charlotte and Juliette’s criticisms primarily deal with factual issues. They all praise the location. It’s close to Spaarndammerstraat, shops, pubs, and Albert Heijn. It’s only 10 minutes away from CS. And it’s by the IJ. Yet, Jean-Mohammed bitterly recalls “sleepless nights because of the voracious Giant Dutch mosquitoes.” He adds: “My bedroom window was facing the canal.” Charlotte complains about the noise, due to construction works taking place in the neighbourhood. It is an obvious sign that the Container City is only temporary. Nobody knows exactly when students will have to leave permanently. Many extensions have been provided.

Yet, at some point in 2014, the Houthavens Utopia is doomed to disappear. Still, no clear solution has been found to accommodate all the students. Surely, containers from the West will be missed. “One of my best memories?” asks Jean-Mohammed, “Simply waking up slightly hangover the first few days of my stay. Not sure where I was. And then, see the canal through the window and realise that I am in Amsterdam.” His tip would be to choose shared facilities, rather than a private studio. “I had an amazing roommate. Furthermore, the apartments are substantially bigger than single rooms. And it’s great to come back to a flat that is not always empty.” Juliette remains enthusiastic about her whole experience In Amsterdam. When asked about her worse memory, she simply replies: “It hasn’t happened yet. Depressingly enough, none of my edible plates stayed alive, and that’s about it. Oh, bike accidents and bike or phone losses. And the horror feeling looking at grades should be on this. But everything else is great! Life goes on.”


THE QUEST OF GREASINESS: Foreigners testing the Dutch cuisine. What is The Dutch Cuisine? Does it exist, at all? Is everything really fried? Elodie and John, natives from the culinary much more advanced nations of Switzerland and Norway, volunteered to try and grade a variety of Dutch dishes. From hapjes to full meals, from candy to heavy liquor.

BITTERBALLEN (deep-fried objects, stuffed with meat, potato and miscellaneous flavouring) John: ouch! I burned my tongue! Elodie: These bitterballen are not stereotypical. John: You mean you have eaten this stuff before? What is it, anyway? I cannot even describe the taste. And eating something with a brown outside and a grey inside...? 18

Elodie: I don’t know. There must be some body parts involved. John: I guess a smart bartender invented this to make you drink more beer. Cause I really need something to help me swallow this. Elodie: I think you should at least let them pass. But they need revision. 5.5 is a good grade. John: OK. But with serious doubt.

STAMPPOT (mashed potatoes with some kind of vegetable mashed in it, sprinkled with bacon and soaked in the fat you fried the bacon in). John: This is grey again. I’m not eating it. Elodie: I didn’t know there was bacon involved. John: And what is it about Dutch people and potatoes? Is the different kinds of Stamppot their idea of a varied diet? Just...potatoes with... Elodie: Potatoes?

nr. p




ERWTENSOEP (very greenish and thick soup, with chuncks of bacon fried in butter) Elodie: It’s fluorescent. John: And shouldn’t soup actually be liquid? Elodie: It glows in the dark. I’m scared! John: Hm. But, I think it tastes really good. Honestly. Elodie: You are not honest. You are politically correct. John: Come on, it is warm, and with a lot of greasy pork. What else can you dream of? Elodie: Indonesian food. John: That’s next step on our program. But we have to grade this first. Seven? Elodie: 2. John: I guess this means there will be two marks for this dish. I go for 8. RIJSTAFEL (the Dutch way of serving Indonesian food (and pretending it is really Indonesian). Lots of rice and many small dishes) John: Finally something that looks like real food! Elodie: Yes, a typical Norwegian dish. John: Ha-ha. At least, no potatoes here. Elodie: But this dish provokes me. It is very colonial. John: Stop it. At least it tastes delicious. Elodie: Lets put a common grade. 9? John: Ya.

POFFERTJES (small, sweet pancakes sprinkled with vanilla sugar and a decent spoon of butter? Elodie: Vanilla! John: And butter! Elodie: And sugar! John: This is impossible not to like. And I like that you can see how they fry it in the vintage-ish pan. Elodie: That’s so hipster. John: But poffertjes is not. I think.

Elodie: Yes, look at their haircut! John: Whatever. 9.5? Elodie: Of course. JENEVER (like gin, but not really) John: Finally some booze! Elodie: My mother told me to be careful with colourless liquids. John: Bah. Only sissies don’t drink the local liquor. Elodie: Oh, I didn’t realise my glass was already empty. John: Another? Elodie: Yes. (at this moment, our panel was way beyond a state where it was reasonable to give any grades).


ISN/ESN card You might be wondering what on earth you will be doing with the ISN/ ESN Card when you get home. You can either throw it away, enlist it, paste it in your diary or even leave it behind in The Netherlands.. But Hey: I think we’ve got some pretty good ideas about what you can dot with it too! For it can give you some pretty good dicsount! 739















Thank you all so much for this amazing semester! Have a GREAT holiday! We hope to see you again, some day, somewhere in the world!

Love, The ISN Amsterdam Board 22

Insiders Goodbye Edition Winter'13  

The quarteryl magazine of ISN Amsterdam