So I've had my first two weeks in Amsterdam and thought it was important to point out 10 important things you may not read about before coming here -
1. Avoid the tram lines with your bike, you will fall. I learned this within the first 24 hours in a rainstorm. To all my friends that never warned me about this one, thank you so so much.
2. Bikers own the road - they will not stop for anyone walking. They would rather run into you to prove a point than stop.
3, The washer takes 1.5 hours and the dryer takes 2.5 hours. Plan your day accordingly.
4. Cafe and Coffeeshop are two VERY different things. For us Americans, Coffeeshop = Cafe, but here, Cafe = a place to get coffee, do work etc. and then CoffeeShop = an establishment to get weed and smoke. I still make this mistake so people think I'm constantly getting high.
5, Don’t shake people’s hand when meeting them, it’s weird. Give three kisses switching from cheek to cheek. Although this does get complicated when they know you're a foreigner and don’t know whether to do 1 kiss, 3 kisses or a handshake. I have just stuck to one to make it somewhat simple.
6. Nothing about a sex show in the Red Light District is sexy, you’re just out €50. Twenty year old me figured this out when studying abroad. Although some may think this is common sense, I feel like it still needed to be said.
7. Expect it to always rain so always have your raincoat. Even if the Iphone weather app says sun and you physical see the sun, it will rain and you will get wet. (Download - BuienRadar)
8. SIM cards - If you have T-mobile, you’re set, just get an international plan. If not, make sure your SIM card is unlocked by your provider so you can get a T-mobile or Lycamobile SIM once here. If you have Verizon or At&T and you’re only here for a short time, you can also just use TravelPass ($10 a day for all data/call/sms) which I highly recommend. For Verizon, you will get a text as soon as you land asking if you want it to be activated (Link above on "Verizon" for more info).
9. The Dutch are not really known for their food but there are certain delicacies you should try. I'm not promising you will like them but it is a must: Bitterballen, Stroopwafel, Herring (raw), Oliebollen, Poffertjes and Dutch Liquorice. I've tried them all...only really like 4 of those 6.
10. This last one’s a bit of a personal one but I have quickly learned that Samantha is one of the trashiest names to have in the Netherlands. It’s like having the name Kandie in the US. So, I go by Sam.