One of the stones in the facades of Amsterdam explaining the original function of the building
When I am telling my (new) Italian friends that I come from the Netherlands I always get the same  reaction: “How nice. It’s such a beautiful country”. Further questioning from my side always results in disappointing answers: most of them have not even visited the low lands and when they have they usually did not come any further that a weekend in Amsterdam. 

After last Sundays’ experience, where I will tell you about in a minute, I can totally agree with the beauty of this city, but I will definitely encourage them to take the opportunity to see it from another point of view and book an Old City Food Tour.

Every person has its own preferences when it concerns discovering unknown cities. The easiest way is to pack a Lonely Planet or any other printed tour guide and pick out the highlights indicated by a journalist. However, these kind of guides are suited ‘for everyone’ and might turn out not to be your kind of thing. It would be a pity if that makes your precious and maybe expensive weekend something you rather forget than remember.

Especially in the more wanted cities like Rome, Paris or Amsterdam it is quite difficult to avoid tourist traps as restaurants that offer real-food-from-that-country, which tastes horrible and is way overpriced. Luckily, there is now a bottom-up solution for this called Spotted by Locals: an online platform on which local experts get you the most up-to-date info on activities and hotspots in their city.

And these Spotted by Locals almost gets me to the topic of this blog. The beauty of Amsterdam would not exist without its history starting with the reason that exactly here a city was founded in the 13th century: a dam in the Amstel river grow into a centre of commerce thanks to its vicinity to waterways that connected the city with the rest of the world. One of the first commercial successes of the ‘Hollanders’ was the monopoly in the import and trade of cereals. With the money made with this business, the famous VOC or United East-India Company could be founded and the so-called golden ages and there with an important capitol of the Dutch food traditions took off.

As you might have understood, food has been very important for the development of Amsterdam (and other Dutch cities). Unfortunately, during the years this has lost in importance as you can see in our ‘traditional’ dishes which generally have a history of not even 100 years old.

Also the visible part of our history is hardly considered. As a Dutch, I can confirm that I do know not much about the history of our country and the why, what and how of the Dutch cities. Like most I appreciate the beauty of the medieval city centres but at the same time I do take it for granted. Until last week thus.

Thanks to the Old Amsterdam Food Tour, organized by Amsterdam based Farming the City, I got to see Amsterdam from another point of view. It really opened my eyes and made me appreciate even more the beauty of its streets, canals and buildings. I learned that small details, which are usually overlooked, could tell you a lot about what happened long ago but what is still important today. No reason to only look forward thus: a look at the past might help you to think about the future.

Also curious about the history of your city? Then checkout the website of Farmingthe City (Amsterdam) or Food inthe Streets (Milan) and book your Old City Food Tour.