Today I want to take you back to the Amstelland-Meerlanden region we visited several times during the last weeks. Due to personal circumstances, I could not visit each municipality together with my group. But to ensure I can take part in the data collection process we decided that Larissa and I will go to two areas together, which were Aalsmeer and Amstelveen and I stayed in a hotel close to Aalsmeer for one night. At that hotel I rented a bike and planned to ride through Aalsmeer, Uithoorn and Amstelveen, where the data collection took place.

At Moday, the 8th of May I started the bike tour in Aalsmeer at 10 o’ clock in the morning. Even though the sky was staying grey the whole morning, I was impressed by the beautiful nature around me. It looked like a postcard. The bike paths were surrounded by small canals, whose water level was almost as high as the grasslands next to it. I was riding my bike on small paths, one canal left, one canal right and grasslands as far as the horizon for about 5 to 8 kilometers.

The neighborhoods of Aalsmeer looked the same as the countryside; people built beautiful houses with lovely details within the water. Well, actually they did not build those on the water but it looks as if they did. Each house has a bridge in front of it, which connects the estates with the street. Almost everyone has enough space to have chicken, sheep, cows or horses. I was impressed by the cohabit of nature, animals and human. Every single spot looks harmonious and just perfect.

Holland land_water

I am still wondering what was first: Land or Water?

To get to Uithoorn I passed several small villages that all looked as beautiful and as the perfect cohabit of nature and human as I described in Aalsmeer. The difference in Uithoorn I recognized is just that the houses here are built on land, which you also recognize when you see them but most of the houses or whole neighborhoods are surrounded by beautiful little canals that are the home of many ducks and swans.

Past many lovely neighborhoods and a long surface street I finally came to Amstelveen after a one-and-a-half-hour bike tour.

On my way back I wanted to discover some more of Amstelveen and took a tour through the Amsterdam Forest, which is partly located in Amstelveen. The forest has a magical atmosphere. I could not believe that I am so close to the overcrowded Amsterdam with all the traffic, the tourists, shops and the noise. And here in the forest – nothing. The only thing I heard was the wind, the water and some birds. The feeling I had was indescribable. I spent about an hour walking my bike through the forest. Mothers with their small children played at the small lakes, couples did picknick, young people were just lying in the grass or under trees and professional bikers crossed my way. Everyone enjoyed this wonderful place the way he or she liked.

This bike tour was the perfect opportunity to get to know the area. For me it is now easier to visualize what I am writing about. Now I have a better understanding of what people in each area talk about and what they mean with what they say, because I experienced it myself. Bike tours are a popular attraction for tourists and I had the chance to do one part of what a tourist would do when he comes to the Amstelland–Meerlanden region. I experienced the priceless beauty of the three places and the lovely, respectful coexistence and cooperation of nature, human and animals.

After these two days I personally want our research to be helpful to the municipalities so that more people get the chance to be within nature’s perfection just a few kilometers away from Amsterdam’s city centre.

Written by: Alina Schröder