Sure, I am Always Talkin’ Food, but I teach NT2 (Dutch as a second language) on the side. Mainly to young foreigners who came to Amsterdam for or with love. For privacy reasons the names in these columns are fictitious.
In the first lesson of the newly started conversation course, much attention is paid to getting acquainted, because neither of us have met in a previous course. On top of that, it is a good way of repeating the presumed knowledge of the Dutch language.
To get to know one another better, the students have to interview each other. And once that is done, they will interview me, their teacher, as well.
I will answer with three options, of which they must choose the right one and clarify their choice.
During such a first lesson, everyone is still quite reserved. Abbas, an Iranian-American, is the first to overcome his shyness by asking: 'Where do you live?’
I write three possible answers on the whiteboard.
3. Amsterdam Centrum
Brabant in the south of the Netherlands, as they all appear to know, is immediately dropped. Way too far from Amsterdam. Opinions are divided about the other two options. Marie from France tends towards answer 3. The Chinese Amber has no idea.
Then Abbas speaks up: ‘Definitely not in the center of Amsterdam’, he states bluntly.
I, a long-time resident of the city center, am as surprised as Marie is.
‘Why not?’ she asks him. ‘Gaasperplas is also too far away.’
Yes, why is Abbas so adamant about this? Perhaps he thinks I don't want to be confronted with daily crowds of pushy tourists who can't ride a bike, but do it all the same? Or with Nutella shops and other tourist traps?
No, that's not it.
‘Amsterdammers don’t live in the city center,' Abbas knows for sure. 'Far too expensive for them.’
Despite efforts of the Amsterdam city council, de grachtengordel (the canal area) is not only too expensive to live in for Amsterdammers, but also crowded with Nutella, Candy Pirates and other tourist stores. So why not cross the IJ with het pontje (the ferry) if you want to shed the crowds? It’s for free (gratis).
On an old sports field in Amsterdam-Noord, you find a whole complex of organic food producers, a wine maker, a weekly food market and a restaurant.
Restaurant Pof’s vegs are smoked on the premises, very tasty and reasonably priced.
Restaurant Pof, Meteorenweg 280, Amsterdam-Noord. Open Wednesday-Sunday until 11 PM.
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