Amsterdam: A warm and silent city

I’m sitting in my living room, looking at my reflection on my laptop and kissed by the ray of the sun, in this warm and silent afternoon in Amsterdam. Funny enough, because I would whinge about the cold weather here (rainy days go without saying), but as the good weather suddenly came out, I have to appreciate it from my window. The paradox of seeing thousands of people biking in the rain and now to see a complete empty bike path, it’s something.

Photo by Ayoub Ejallali

In a consumerist society like The Netherlands, it was nearly a utopia to stop everything. Yesterday's decision of the Dutch government was to act and take some extreme and drastic decisions (about time!) on the same line as the rest of the world. Weirdly, the atmosphere here till yesterday was completely fine and normal, appearing almost not to be conscious of what was happening. Nevertheless, in a blink of an eye, shops were empty, food was gone (toilet paper of course), and last but not least, hundreds of people lining up in front of coffee shops (yes, classic stereotype, but it is what it is).

Photo by Ayoub Ejallali

Over here there is a tradition (looking back to Calvinistic roots) not to have curtains at home, allowing people to see through the windows. Today, I could see my neighbours on the other side, sharing with them this feeling of limitation and almost acknowledging that this will be standard routine for a little while longer; the same knowledge that we should use to understand that we are lucky enough to be able to stop this by making a little effort, each one of us, to allow us to go back biking again.

This story was shared by Ayoub Ejallali, an Italian student of Communication and Media based in Amsterdam.

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