Visiting Amsterdam this past weekend was a privelege that I will never forget. Amsterdam is a wonderful city that boasts historic highs and lows, mixed with the young, liberal town that it is today.
The thin, tall, leaning houses lining Amsterdam's canals gave it a feel that is distinctly Amsterdam. While the city center is full of people and lights from store signs, just walking out a couple of blocks reveals quiet streets with parks all around (if you don't get into a biker's way, that is!).
A big portion of our trip was spent exploring some of Amsterdam's history. We saw buildings dating back as far as the 1600s, such as the original headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. They traded (and landed in New York) hundreds of years ago and represented a company that would have been bigger than Apple and Microsoft combined.
We also explored some of the World War II history in the city. One stop was at the Dutch Reistance Museum, which explored how Dutch people persisted under the Nazi Occupation. The museum was one of the most well organized and complete that I had ever been to. One of the most moving experiences was touring the house where Anne Frank and her family were hidden for over two years. I had read Anne Frank's diary when I was younger but to physically see and be in the space she wrote about was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It is hard to imagine the bravery and sacrifices that they and their helpers made for their survival. It was heartbreaking and inspiring so that we never allow anything like that to happen again.
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<p>My name is Sarah and I am studying environmental studies and journalism. Although born and raised in upstate New York, I now go to college in Washington, DC. My perfect day involves eating lots of good food and getting lost on a hike.</p>