Welcome to Amstergasm.

This is an English-language site about what it’s like to be in Amsterdam, as seen through the eyes of a foreigner who’s been living here for a while. I hope to make it useful for people who love Amsterdam at a distance, for those who plan to visit, for those considering living here, and for those who have recently settled here and are trying to figure the place out.

There are two reasons why I think this is needed. First, there are some pervasive myths about Amsterdam which can give newcomers the wrong expectations, leading to disappointment if not personal tragedy. Second, much of what’s written in English about Amsterdam is agenda-driven, aiming to promote either a government policy or a touristic dream. I hope to avoid doing that here. Slap me if I do.

Having said that, I should confess that I do have a point of view about this city. I love this city. I still love what it means to me as a symbol for the hope of coolness. Which means I too may be dreaming.

I came here from Boston in 2003, mainly because I had always wanted to live in Amsterdam, and finally ran out of excuses not to try. The plan was to stay six months and try to get a residence permit. I got one. They haven’t kicked me out yet.

This site is a companion to the Amstergasm video page on Youtube, where I am posting short films about the experience of being here.

Thanks for coming. I hope this can be of some use to you.

S G Collins
Postwar Media, Amsterdam

(PS: the name 'Amstergasm' originally comes from a monthly column I wrote for the web magazine 'Mental Shoes' starting in 2009. I was a contributing editor for the first 17 issues.)