“When I was in my teens I’d backpack with a couple of friends through the Netherlands and Germany. Amsterdam was the wildest place en route, and when we arrived at Centraal Station we were confronted by this fact straight away. Dealers came up to us, which I had never encountered before, as I had hardly ever been outside of Scotland.
I had always wanted to live abroad. I had a lot of friends in Glasgow who were from different countries and they thought living abroad was great. “That’s what I want”, I though to myself. So when a Dutch friend who lived in Glasgow wanted to go back and live in Amsterdam, I decided to go too. She then fell in love and stayed in Glasgow, while I left for Amsterdam. No plans. 10 years had passed since my first visit, and the city had really changed.
I arrived in the heat of the summer, lived near the Wester Park and went to work at an Irish pub. Within the first few days I realised that life was nothing here without a bike, so I bought one. Everything was new, and I met loads of people. I’ve now lived here for 10 years and, to my surprise, I’m still here. Of course there have been times when I felt like I’d had enough of Amsterdam. That’s when I went travelling for a year, and lived for a while in Berlin. But I always come back. I have no idea why. It’s like I’ve formed deep roots.
Amsterdammers could be friendlier. In Glasgow you are greeted like a friend by the driver. Not here. Amsterdammers are famous for their rudeness, and I agree with that. I enjoy it, though. If you don’t get your bike out of their way quickly enough, they’ll let you know straight away.”