AMSTERDAM – what a great place


Patrick & Janine van der Plaat
My friends, Patrick & Janine, who live there

Although the seat of Netherlands government is in The Hague, Amsterdam is the nominal capital. It is also the country’s largest city, with a population of more than 750,000 and the most visited, with over 3.5 million foreign visitors a year.

The Netherlands is in Western Europe, bordering Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. To its north and west is the North Sea. Although the Netherlands is the country’s official name, people often call it Holland. The provinces of North Holland and South Holland form only part of the Netherlands.

The warmest weather is from June to August, with temperatures between 21 – 26 degrees Celsius. There are rarely extreme temperatures. The air is relatively humid and fog is common in autumn and spring. There are stronger winds from October to March. Click for the weather.

The currency in the Netherlands is the Euro (€, EUR). Cash, Credit Cards and ATMs are commonly used. All major international cards are recognised, and you will find that most hotels, restaurants and major stores accept them. Shops often levy a 5% surcharge (or more) on credit cards to offset the commissions charged by card providers. To withdraw money at a bank counter instead of from an ATM, go to a GWK branch. You’ll need to show your passport.
Automated teller machines can be found outside most banks and at airports and most train stations. Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard/Eurocard are widely accepted, as well as cash cards that access the Cirrus network. Be aware that, if you’re limited to a maximum withdrawal per day, the ‘day’ will coincide with that in your home country. Also note that using an ATM can be the cheapest way to exchange your money from home – but check with your home bank for service charges before you leave.

Exchange Rate
£1 = 1.32
$1 = 0.91

Hours of Business
Mon-Fri 8:30/9:00 am – 5:30/6:00 pm, Sat 8:30/9:00 – 4:00/5:00 pm. Most cities have late-night shopping on Thursdays or Fridays. In holiday and tourist resorts many shops are open at night and on Sundays.

Mon-Fri 9:00am – 4:00/5:00pm; sometimes also on late night shopping nights and on Saturdays.

Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands. However, English is spoken by almost everyone. In addition, many Dutch people speak German and French.

Things to Do

Why not experience Amsterdam by taking a look at the top attractions:

Anne Frank House


Van Gogh Museum

Hermitage Amsterdam

The Heineken Experience

Canals of Amsterdam

Artis Zoo

The Jordaan

Vondel Park

*Information from LPWA 2016 website –

It’s All About the Beautiful People

The year 2007. As I was on my way to Korea, in my heart a deep sense of gratitude was very clear: To God first, to the old OhmyNews, to Softway/Softrack and to all the people who made it possible for this common Brazilian to come to Asia and visit South Korea.

Korean friend, Kon
Korean friend, Kon
Flight Attendant
Korean Flight Attendant

While still in Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo I thought of writing about my impressions. Long before I actually arrived I did get a preview of what it would all be like – I mean in Korea. While enroute from Los Angeles to Incheon, I was already puzzled.

The Flight

Incredible service is not exactly the best way of describing it — fantastic, I think, is much better. You think of pressing the button to call the flight attendant and she is there already. Korean Air personnel were my first encounter with Korean style: Fast, objective, efficient. I hope I am lucky enough to come back this way soon with Korean Air.

Beautiful People

As a man I was quick to notice that all the flight attendants were very beautiful. I thought, “They get the best of the land… of course…” Then I arrived in Seoul and thought that all the girls were flight attendants — incredible — everywhere beautiful looking men and women, it is rather rare to see someone out of shape. But let me tell you more, they are not just good looking they are great care takers, I felt very well taken care of while in Korea.



As always, at an international gathering like this, there is a sense of friendship and sharing. The Mennonite Church in the U.S. has a program of exchange visitors and their motto goes some like “Building Bridges Across Boundaries” and, you know, that is exactly what happened with all of us during this Forum.

So, now Korea is no longer just a flag for me, a distant country somewhere on the map; now Korea is Ms. Nayoung Han, Kon, Mr. Oh, Mr. Jean K. Min — for me now Muhammad Aslam Khan is Pakistan, Yehonathan Tommer is Israel, Rajendran Nair is India, and so on.

I did try to put it in words — I am sure this is something we all felt and feel until today.

Oh how many beautiful people!

People from all over the world
People from all over the world

Giving Thanks

I am still thankful to all readers in Korea and all around the world because you are the ones who ultimately made all this possible.

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