I have never been to Amsterdam

Being somewhere already for some time doesn’t necessarily equal experiencing the place anymore. Checking in simply to cross it off your list without any reflection whatsoever, seems to be more and more popular – from the number of books read, to the films seen, and an exponentially growing trend: places visited. 

What does “I’ve been to 36 countries” on your college application even mean? 

We live in an era where quantity often comes before quality because the latter is “neither big nor fast enough” to satisfy people’s expectations. 

Coming to a city for a few days and experiencing it through the photos you’ve taken (possibly of yourself) is something we had an opportunity to observe already for a few decades, but what is still a relatively fresh “next level” of such perception is experiencing a city through the outer approval of the others through social media. 

“Does it even count I was there if no one saw it on Instagram?”

Not being able to be somewhere without communicating that through social media has become such a widespread issue it could soon classify as a disorder. Its symptoms include stress, lack of concentration, low self-esteem, mood swings, and even depression, among others.

With I have never been to Amsterdam project I am questioning what being somewhere really means – especially in a city like Amsterdam where all the “must-see” points that tourists so eagerly go to are the ones that people living there never visit or often don’t even know about. 

Their image of the city becomes like a canvas that is hung in front of facades of buildings being renovated, whose role is to obscure scaffolding and show a us “better version” of the place. And the facade behind it is the local reality.