The Ultimate Guide to King’s Day in Amsterdam: A Day of Orange, Festivities, and Flea Markets

by Aimee Kinniburg, Universiteit van Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Once a year, every year on April 27th, the city of Amsterdam transforms into a vibrant sea of orange, welcoming locals and visitors alike to celebrate King’s Day, the biggest national holiday in the Netherlands. Thousands upon thousands of people flood the streets of Amsterdam to celebrate the birthday of the King. This was easily a highlight of my time in Amsterdam, however, there are some very useful things to know before you embark on this day of festivities that will ensure you have the best day possible. 

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Hidden Gems of Amsterdam

by Aimee Kinniburgh, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands

Having lived in Amsterdam now for nearly 9 months, I think I’ve finally earnt the right to talk about some of my favourite, lesser-known places in Amsterdam to go for a coffee, study or for a pint in the all be in very limited, sun. So if you happen to find yourself in Amsterdam feel free to use this list to get away from some of the tourist, and TikTok, traps.

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A Day Trip to Haarlem

by Aimee Kinniburgh, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands

Having explored lots of Amsterdam over the last few months, my housemates and I decided it was time to venture out of the city and explore more of what the Netherlands has to offer. After a quick google, we chose to take a day trip to the historic town of Haarlem. Following a small mishap with buses, namely taking an accidental detour to the airport, we arrived in Harlem in the early afternoon and were greeted by the gleaming winter sun. Haarlem has a more relaxed vibe than Amsterdam and is a place to get away from the busy tourist spots whilst still having that picturesque town feel, so we were excited to begin exploring. Our google search told us we’d be greeted by cobble streets and historic markets, and we were not disappointed.

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Managing homesickness – some (hopefully) helpful advice!

by Aimee Kinniburgh, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands

When moving abroad, so much of what you’re told is positive: you’ll make the best friends, you’ll experience new cultures, you’ll learn so much about yourself. Of course, all of this is true and already my year abroad is turning into one of the best years of my life. However, what I think people often miss is that whilst you experience some of the highest highs, that also comes with experiencing some of the lowest lows. This isn’t in any way to put you off going, I fundamentally think it’s one of the best things you could ever do. But given all of this I thought it might be a good idea to write about my experiences with homesickness and some of the ways I found to deal with missing your home comforts and life back home, in the hope that maybe this helps someone else feeling this way, or in the least act as some free therapy for me!

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A Week of Living in Amsterdam

by Aimee Kinniburgh, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands

As I’m writing this, today marks one week of living in Amsterdam and what a week it’s been. It feels like a lifetime ago I left for Bristol airport and said goodbye to my life in England for the next year. This week has been full of the highest highs and also some of the lowest lows, as is often the case when you pack up your life and move countries. So I thought I would make a list of the most important things I’ve learnt after my first week in Amsterdam. I’m sure this list will only grow throughout my time here but here’s what I’ve learnt so far.

  1. Get. A. Bike. – it sounds obvious but my god life in Amsterdam is impossible without one. Swapfiets will become your best friend, even if they do give you a bike that was too big and too heavy for your small little legs to start with. Some of the best moments of your first week will be when it’s just you, your bike and some music cycling around and exploring the city so just bite the bullet and pay for a bike. 
  1. On top of this get a bike coat. You’ll think they’re ridiculous at the start but trust me you won’t care how silly you look when it’s chucking it down with rain and you’re having to cycle 40 minutes to get home. The drowned rat look is not a good one. 
  1. Campus is beautiful but very confusing so make sure you leave plenty of time to find your lecture halls and seminar rooms. It makes for some very awkward first impressions when you have to walk in late.
  1. Cooking is going to be a whole new experience in Amsterdam. Ovens seem to simply not exist out here so get ready for a lot of pasta and rice in the first few days before you figure out how to cook with only two hobs and find out where to buy spices from.
  1. Going out in Amsterdam is revolutionary. Everyone is so friendly and respectful so take advantage and chat to as many people as you can! It’s the best way to make friends and makes for some very funny stories in the morning
  2. And finally, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and like you’ll never get settled into your new life. It’s a big deal to move to a completely different country and everything will feel too much at times but even after a week life is settling down so give it time and you’ll be fine!