This book tries to present the DNA of Amsterdam in pictures and words, bicycle being the most dominant. Carl shares several trivia statistics on this theme – the city contains more than a million bikes (on a population of 815.000), 767 kilometers of bike infrastructure, 10.000 bike parking spots around Central Station alone and Amsterdammers together cycle over 2 million kilometers every day. Carl also paints a picture of the city as an emerging dominant creative start-up hub, with a thriving start-up culture. Apparently 60% of job growth in the city comes from companies that are younger than five years. The book also contains hot tips for finding jobs in the city for internationals, several co-working spot recommendations – including the KantoorKaravaan – and key business and networking events.
Most unique and interesting about the Carl Goes Amsterdam book are the interviews with locals. Although all people interviewed are part of the city’s creative class, Carl did a great job in finding a diverse group and therefore collecting interesting and differing stories. On the one hand, there is the group roaming around the more traditional, up-scale neighborhoods like Oud-Zuid and the Nine Streets. While on the other hand, there is the group of the more adventurous residents who are discovering and sharing new and developing parts of the city. For instance Martien Mellema, of Dutch Vogue, shares her insights on Amsterdam’s undiscovered South-East and the typical Amsterdam sense of fashion.
Futurist Adjiedj Bakas also shares his vision of future trends for the city, while highlighting classic hotspots. Richard Jones, who lives in Amsterdam coming from Wales originally, shares his view on the typical Dutch culture and his favorite places to drink coffee in Amsterdam (which could be argued to be exactly correct in my personal opinion!). Many locals also mention the upcoming Amsterdam North; some of them living there in what used to be a “no-go” area. Chef Yvette van Boven, for example, compares the North to the development of Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan.
The diverse group of locals all come to a similar conclusion, Amsterdam is simply a great city to live in. With a very high quality of life, Amsterdam offers a small and cozy city, with an international style, and so much going on. On one hand, the people of Amsterdam are incredibly spoiled, as creative spaces and projects can be found anywhere in the city. Yet, it also holds a sense of calmness, without getting wrapped up in the hectic atmosphere produced by other large global cities.
Carl ends with a small chapter on getting out of the city, getting away for a day or a weekend. When leaving the city all together, he recommends other cities like: Rotterdam, Berlin, Antwerp or Cape Town. Where will Carl go next? Three new guides are planned to come out next year!
Carl Goes Amsterdam
Author: Sascha Mengerink, Sasha Arms
Illustrations: Sascha Mengerink
Publisher: Drake Shake B.V., Enschede, The Netherlands
Soft cover, 224 pages, 130 x 210 mm