Holiday Travel Series Pt 2. NYE…
I am from NYC, the city reputably known for the most beautiful New Year’s Eve celebration in the world. Yet, after spending this past NYE in Amsterdam, I say everyone MUST celebrate one NYE in Amsterdam in their life. No, and it’s not just because weed is legal. Here’s why.
1) Amsterdam is a nuts place any given day of the year, so why would it be different on NYE? Yep, you guessed it! It wouldn’t. In fact, double any given day of the year times five. Now, imagine…
Note: I have NO existing pics from that night for this post. Does that tell you anything?
2) There are no firework regulations in the streets. Or anywhere for that matter. What does that mean for you?
- Well first, BE CAREFUL. I was riding my bike back to my hostel early that evening when the street fireworks were just beginning, and I nearly got hit with one. But it was good to get my adrenaline pumping for the night, I suppose?
- THE ENERGY. The energy in the city on NYE is nearly unbearable. Everywhere you walk, there are fireworks exploding from one end or another. The ear splitting POP leaves you no choice but to feel pumped for the night to come. And for that matter, the year to come.
- GET IN ON THE ACTION. Ever lit a firework in the middle of a bustling city street before? Bet ya haven’t. Well here, you can start your new year with a BANG, (haha get it?!) and do something you’ve never done before. Really, it’s truly exhilarating.
- THE SHOW IS LIKE NO OTHER. The fireworks show in NYC is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. It’s obvious that every single firework that goes off is planned to a T. Every color compliments the other, every big firework is followed by a strategically placed little firework, etc. It’s like the broadway show of fireworks. Well, in Amsterdam it is nearly the exact opposite. While the planned show is beautiful, the unplanned show is even more. It’s like the IMAX, surround sound of fireworks displays. Everywhere you look, there are fireworks dazzling from every direction. It’s quite symbolic of Amsterdam, if you ask me. The freedom to celebrate wherever, and however you’d like. Deep, I know…
3) There is EVERY kind of street party you could ever want. FREE. From wild and reckless or calm and beautiful, to local hangout spots or elaborate touristic extravaganzas, you choose. But don’t think too hard, because you can’t go wrong with any.
- For the reckless tourist: Oosterdok central, Dam Square, Rembrandtplein and Nieuwmarktare are your main spots with all the action. While all are equally as rowdy and touristic, if you’re going that route I’d recommend Oosterdok. This is where the infamous “IAmsterdam” ship is, posing as a beautiful backdrop to the fireworks. Not to mention that endless lineup of food stands frying up sugary Dutch classics (I’ll get to that later) and musical performances by a range of bands and DJs. And be prepared to pop bottles, as alcohol is not only allowed, but encouraged. Just avoid glasses, as those aren’t (Amsterdam is super eco-friendly, even on NYE!)
- For a mix of the view AND the action: Pick a bridge, any bridge. Especially the notorious “skinny bridge,” aka the Magere Brug. This was my move, and it couldn’t have been more wonderrrrrful. I’d say it’s the perfect compromise: Less tourists, more fireworks, better view, more freedom to groove. When I say “more” fireworks, you get a central view of the fireworks going off EVERYWHERE in the city, as explained above. The main show, and the locals firing about from every corner. There is also a perfect ledge for you to climb on top of, where you can watch the fireworks sparkle in the air as they reflect off the Amstel River. Ahhhhh. Added plus? More room to pop champagne 😉
- If you wanna hang with the locals: Go to Jordaan. Where the more intimate, less “spectator-y” celebrations go down. This part of town is super trendy, decked out with unique bars and locals setting off their own fireworks displays.
4) The clubs are awesome and (kinda) cheap: OK, granted my vision of a cheap club on NYE might be skewed. In NYE, the cheapest cover is $80.00. I kid you not. When I discovered that almost any every top notch venue was 35€, I was ecstatic. I went to Club Air, and I will say this: I couldn’t imagine a wilder way to start my 2015.
*DISCLAIMER: Buy your tix in advance people! The earlier it is, the cheaper it is.
5) Oliebollen…Everywhere. These fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside doughy balls of fried heaven are like a dream come true on NYE. Imagine this: You are cold, you’ve had a few bottles of Heineken (since you’re in Amsterdam, of course), and you’re stomach is starting to speak to you. Correction, yell at you. Oh wait! There are olliebollen stands EVERYWHERE. It’s truly the drunk persons paradise.
6) CELEBRATE HOW YOU WANT, BE WHO YOU WANT: Ok time to get a little corny. But one thing I couldn’t help but to notice about the culture in Amsterdam is that it is truly an “independent, I am who I am” culture. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that weed is legal. Or it could have something to do with the fact that if you want to start your New Year off with a prostitute from the Red Light district, that’s totally OK. Heck, if you want to be a prostitute, that’s OK too. I went to a classic Dutch”brown cafe,” and their was a 50-something year old woman dancing on a table, a Rastafarian dude smokin’ a joint in the middle of the dance floor, and a dog sitting at the bar watching the whole thing. And it was not only okay, but embraced. So where better to start your New Year than a place that embraces YOU for YOU? Whatever wild inhibitions you might have that night, or far out resolutions you might have for the new year, your in Amsterdam. It’s allllll good.