City picks/lit is a series of books ,all about different cities ,using extracts ,short pieces and journalistic pieces about the cities ,This one is all about the Dutch Capital Amsterdam and was part funded by thee Dutch foundation for translation of Dutch literature .The collection was compiled by Heather Reyes The editor of the whole series and Victor Schiferli A dutch graduate ,he worked for the Dutch translation foundation and as an editor for Penguin .It is published by Oxygen books

The book is divide into a number of sections ,each reflecting Amsterdam in a different way ,I love Amsterdam the first is a general introduction why people love the city Alain De describing arriving at Schipol airport and the trip to the centre of Amsterdam from his art of travel .Then we read piece about the canals of Amsterdam ,Cees Nooteboom talks about the sea and the land a wonderfully poetic piece from Hollands best known writer .

First of all the land .The North sea beats against a row of dunes that resist it and rolls ,green grey ,brown grey to the place where it finds passage .From there it whips around the land ,between the walls of islands and becomes the Wadden sea ,the Zuider Zee .

from the philosopher without eyes by Cees Nooteboom .

Then we Gather Peoples thought on the must see places Geert Mak from his books about the City picks Vondel park as one of the Places ,of course Anne Franks house here described by Indian writer Salil Triparthi  ,then we here writers describe the art ,the wonderful collection of dutch masters Van Gogh is described by the spanish writer Cesar Antonio Molina .

Van Gogh was always obsessed with being recognized and success but if it had worked out like that would he have painted the way he did ?

Molina on Van Gogh

Then we see how Amsterdam is a nation with in a nation ,very different in some ways than the rest of the Netherlands .John Ezards obituary too The Franks lifeline Miep Gies is very Touching this wonderful women ,deserves to be remembered  ,the tolerant Amsterdam is discussed with their liberal drugs and infamous red light district .the Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic tells us the cost of the red light district in human traffic from Eastern Europe .then the Historic Amsterdam our own Simon Schmama talks about the city through Rembrandt’s eyes .the section on the second world war includes an extract of  Anne Franks diary ,a wonderful piece on a childs eye view of the war ,and the last section is about the future of the city ,

Well that was a quick flick through the book the sections and some pieces I enjoyed ,Cities are like a Living breathing creatures and this book is like a paint of this creature ,AMSTERDAM ,i ve been only a couple of times for the day to this city and loved it this book remind me of the bits I liked the people the canals its wonderful artistic legacy ,this book is great if you want to go there have been there or just want to know about the city as an armchair traveller .Now there are a lot of different writers mainly Dutch but also from around the world ,the translators seem to have done great jobs .

I ll leave you with another person on this great city .

November 2010


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