Prepping myself for the move...
My mind is starting to shift into Amsterdam mode so I've decided to help it along with a few purchases.
I bought Ian Buruma's critically acclaimed 'Murder in Amsterdam', a 'rivetting account' of the killing of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist, Mohammed Bouyeri. It discusses how a clash between European Enlightenment values and Muslim fundamentalism is ripping Dutch society apart.
Always a controversial figure, Theo van Gogh's murder was very much a result of his collaboration with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a brilliant and stunningly beautiful Somali from a prominent political family who fled to Holland to escape a forced marriage, learned perfect Dutch, joined the left-wing Labour Party to advocate for abused Muslim women immigrants, and by 2002 was a Member of Parliament and rising star in the conservative free-market Liberal Party.
For a Muslim perspective on the book, read this review.
I also bought the Moleskine City Notebook for Amsterdam. It's a beautiful little book that I fear my laziness may make a waste of money. But, being a sucker for the words 'the legendary notebook of Hemmingway, Picasso, and Chatwin becomes your guide to Amsterdam', I was easily hooked.
A bit of googling introduced me to a new blog, American in Amsterdam. It appears that James is a well-travelled gay American who recently moved to Amsterdam. By looking at his BlogMap, I can see that he lives very close to the flat I didn't take.
Talking of which, in a fit of prematurity, I tried to alter my BlogMap to reflect my address-to-be in Amsterdam. At the time of posting this, it hasn't worked - possibly some fate thing won't allow me to until I'm actually living there.
Update: Blogmap now shows me as living in Amsterdam.