“The first time I came to Amsterdam was in 1999. I had a friend from Luxembourg who studied here, and when I went to an open day at the Academy of Music I looked him up. From the moment I arrived here I was completely sold. I had no idea what was happening to me. Wow. Love at first sight. I decided to take the Academy entrance exam, which I passed. I arrived in the middle of an Indian summer, bought a bike, and rode to the Uitmarkt. I had never experienced anything like that.
My first time in Amsterdam was perfect. I had a nice house with a piano, fell in love for the first time and everything was wonderful. I’ve now lived here for 16 years and the city has become part of me. Sometimes you have to make the best of things to properly enjoy the city, but Amsterdam surprises you again and again with new, fun experiences. For example, the neighbourhood where I live - De Baarsjes - has developed enormously in recent years.
My mother didn’t like the city at all. Amsterdam is not the kind of place for students from Luxembourg. It’s not like Luik or Brussels. My older brother went to study in Luik where it was easy to find a place to live. My mother doesn’t like the fact that I live in a shared house with complete strangers in another city. I have had to struggle with her preconceptions about Amsterdam. My father really likes my being here. Which is why I sometimes invite him over for a football match.
But I love Amsterdam. The feeling that cycling home after an evening at the pub gives me is indescribable. That sense of freedom you get in Amsterdam can’t be compared to anywhere else on the planet. I’ve been to a lot of different places, but Amsterdam will always be home. For me, autumn is the most beautiful time of the year. All the canals are dotted with yellow leaves. It’s beautiful. My favourite place is the Museumplein – it has just been completed, and it’s insane. This city lives all day and all night. Amsterdam is never still, but in the middle of the Museumplein it is quiet. I love it. The buildings are so closely built that it’s impossible to have an unobstructed view of the city. The front of the Bijenkorf (Beehive) is almost totally hidden from view. But you can see it from the Museumplein. On one side you will see the Concertgebouw, and on the other the Rijksmuseum. They used to have a light-track, but it only lasted a year. Amsterdam is simply not very good at building public squares. The Mercatorplein has changed three times in 16 years, because they always forget to add something important.
People in Amsterdam should be more helpful in stores, restaurants or trams for example. Once I was on a tram with my parents. There was a diversion and I was worried that the tram wouldn’t stop at my stop. The tram was going really fast through the streets and it had been a while since it had stopped. I asked the conductor “Is there still a stop in the Jan Evertsenstraat?” “There is if you press the stop button” was her response. So I stuttered, “I know that you have to press the button, but it’s been a while since you stopped. That’s why I’m asking”. “Nobody pressed the button, right?” was her response.”
54 people in Amsterdam have the Luxembourg nationality