Now I could give you some predictions on where HEC is going. How HANA and Hadoop are a killing combination when putting together your big data business case, heck I could even tell you stories about how my nerves are doing 72 hours before my TechEd Demo Jam presentation, but I will not.
Instead I will do something totally different. I will give you my top 10 travel tips for TechEd Amsterdam. Being somewhat of a local (although I come from Rotterdam, lovingly called “010” as opposed to Amsterdam being referred to as just “020”), I believe I can make your travel to Amsterdam even more rememberable. I always wanted to be Anthony Bourdain when I grow up, so here we go in random order:
How can you go wrong? A boat, a canal, some drinks, pretty (red) lights and friendly people. Hop on board!
When the sun goes down and the lights are being switched on, a different Amsterdam appears. The illuminated buildings, bridges and boats give the city an almost fairytale-like appearance. And the best way to enjoy all this is from the water!
Ok, it is somewhat of a tourist trap according to my friends from abroad, but beer, the history of Heineken, some alive and kicking horses representing how beer used to be delivered many decades ago is not a bad combination. The tour ends in the Heineken pub where you can taste that good old “Heerlijk, Helder, Heineken!”. Be sure to be thirsty!
A very old part of Amsterdam representing everything which is good about Amsterdam. It used to be the place where the working-class Amsterdammers lived. A great place now to have a drink, stroll the street and awe at the art galleries. Also home of the Anne Frank house and the place where Rembandt van Rijn is buried (Westerkerk church). Must see!
Well, do I need to introduce it? It is a fun place to be amazed about the liberal thoughts of us Dutchies. We are a proud, liberal, gay tolerating bunch and this is the place where it all comes together. You can do whatever your heart desires here, but be sure to visit café ‘t Mandje. The very first place where gay people were allowed to dance and hang out together. This place is what makes me proud to be Dutch.
Everybody rides a bike in Holland. I mean everybody. We have more bicycles then people in our country. Bikers are protected by law (in case of an accident a cyclist is ALWAYS right, although I advise you not to try this) and you can rent one everywhere. Experience the true way of exploring Amsterdam. Be sure to bike fast, ring your bell a lot and watch out for the locals who don’t care about traffic lights.
If you plan only to have a small taste of culture, be sure to get it here. Home of the Nightwatch, Milkmaid, van Goghs and much, much more. Just renovated for almost 400 million Euros, the place looks brand, spanking new.
Get your taste of nightlife here. Home of famous places like “Melkweg”, “Paradiso”, “Boom Chicago” and the “Hard Rock Café”. It is impossible not to find a bar to your liking here. This has it all and then some. Also home of the “Bulldog cafe”. A famous Dutch coffee shop not famous for its coffee. Nuff said.
More clubs and drinks ladies and gentlemen. Home of the “Escape” club where you can dance the night away. It has been there for many years (the place where DJ Ronald Molendijk pretty much invented house music) and it’s sure to be there for many more.
Also home of the Xtracold Amsterdam Ice Bar. Be sure to put on a sweater 😉
A great UK friend of mine once said, its pretty much impossible not to get a good meal in Holland. I tend to agree. If you’re on the lookout for a good restaurant, the “Iens” website is a great place to start. Honest reviews of restaurants will make sure you pick a nice spot. My favorite if you have some Euros to spare: Ciel Bleu (Okura). What a treat.
Ok, if you really, really want, you can also visit the home of Ajax, the Amsterdam Arena. The stadium where they used to put in new grass every month because of the poor climate conditions (the roof can close, pretty much kills the grass). It is a pretty impressive stadium, but being a Rotterdam guy, I’m officially not allowed to say this (there is some rivalry between Rotterdam and Amsterdam),
Now in case you want to go out for a drink together, me and the other Dutch mentors are more then willing to show you around. Just tap on my shoulder when you see me running around the expedition floor. I’m that guy, wearing Mentor number 75 and beaming with pride that TechEd has come to my town. Welcome home.
Have fun and take care!