Become part of the Amsterdam Museum
If you study or live in Amsterdam, it is not rare to encounter groups of tourists. Whether it is a Blue Monday or a Sunny Saturday, they tend to crowd the plazas, cross the streets, and cycle dramatically dangerous on the cycle lanes. Everday for example, there is a huge queue on Dam square with people desperately wanting to see the figures of Madame Tussauds. There is no question about the importance of the Tourist industry for the Dutch capital. Tourists are economically desirable but socially annoying.
Tourists take the ‘oh-so-Amsterdam-like’ tourist bus, which leads them to different highlights cross the city, such as the the lovely Oudekerksplein in the Red Light District. The question is not if the red vehicles are alienated from the Amsterdam street-scape, but who had thought of the difficulties these monstertrucks have crossing the small streets of the canals. Of course, they are implemented to make the life of a tourist more pleasant and the city more readable. In all the big cities there are these buses. Currently, the tourist roads are paved in cities so the tourist can consume more easily, instead of discovering the city on its own. As far as the buses go: a total mismatch with a city that is known for its characteristic canals and numerous bicycles.
That is why I like the yellow/red bikes with normally a bump of tourists on them. They show the way how Amsterdam rolls: on two tyres instead of four, with a cycle bell instead of a truck horn. Of course, the two-tyred tourists are not only characterising the streets of Amsterdam, but are primarily a danger for inhabitants and themselves. But at least, they try to integrate and get a feeling of how Amsterdam can be to a local. With this in mind, the usage of the full width of the ‘Damstraat’ is forgiven.
What I love the most is when tourists try the tourist boat. Packed within a ‘floating aquarium’, they are shown the canals and the 17th century houses aside them. Tourists watch the city as if it is a contemporary art museum. As museum visitors do, the floating tourists, especially the Japanese, take pictures of everything. They primarily take pictures of cyclists climbing the steep bridges and ringing the bell for dangerous intersections. By being captured on almost every photocamera, the local cyclists become almost live stream figures of Madame Tussauds in the museum called ‘Amsterdam’. The city itself is the museographic stage and the locals are the actors. The city itself is the canvas on which locals paint. But as much as the cyclists, the boat full with international tourists is part of that museum as well. They color the canvas and act on the stage as much as these local cyclists do. In this way, tourists become part of the city, more than they ever have thought of.
So, Tourists: Don’t buy tickets for Madame Tussauds and stand in line for ages. Instead, take the boat, take the usual pictures and star as a Madame Tussauds’ figure yourself in the museum called ‘Amsterdam’.