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T R I P P I N G
The Cat that Walked Through Amsterdam
By Vincent Abbate  (CONTINUED)


EPILOGUE


Some Welcome Mat !


Frans H.J. van der Beek is editor of the Amsterdam Times , an English-language magazine I picked up at the Hotel Aalders during a recent visit. Full of tips, addresses and a city map, the Times is quite obviously geared to the tourist. In an editorial in the February 2000 edition, Mr. van der Beek bemoaned Amsterdam's increasing filth and "sleaze", while speaking out against using "Guilliano"-like (sic) police tactics to clean it up. He went on to complain : "the so called coffee shops . . . attract a lot of low class tourists" and "this city has a lot of class, which is obscured by the hordes of backpackers, freeloaders and freaks." Just above van der Beek's column was one credited to S. Patijn, the city's mayor. Its title? "Welcome to Amsterdam!"

In the efforts of fairness, 3 A. M. MAGAZINE contacted Mr. van der Beek to find out who he considers to be "freeloaders and freaks" and what it is, exactly, he does not like about backpacks or people who wear them. In a conciliatory reply that failed to clarify his original statements, van der Beek wrote : "People in Amsterdam (in Holland as well) like to complain. It is a national hobby." He pointed out that the Amsterdam Times is "no extension of the tourist board." And then he invited me to "come back soon [and] enjoy the town."

Okay. But I'm bringing my freakiest freeloading friends.

- Vincent Abbate

< / EPILOGUE >


"I am the cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me."

- Rudyard Kipling




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