Visiting Van Houten

Where in the world is Van Houten? Or, where in the world was Harry this past weekend? Check out his thoughts on this mysterious city, its waterways, its museums, and its delicious food.

Photo courtesy of

(Photo courtesy of

I’m going to throw us back to 2012 and 2014, where the book The Fault In Our Stars and the movie came out, respectively. In the story, the main character, Hazel, is a fan of a book authored by Peter Van Houten, who resides in Amsterdam. And if you couldn’t already guess, she ends up taking a trip to Amsterdam to go visit him. Thus, this is where I got the inspiration for the title of this blog post! (Even though I actually did not go visit Van Houten, sorry to disappoint.)

I’ve got to admit; Amsterdam has got to be one of the most aesthetically beautiful cities I’ve visited so far. The first and foremost reasons is the water in the city. If you walk less than 10 minutes in any direction, you’ll stumble upon one of the numerous canals lined up in the city. Sometimes there will even be boats that float by, with people enjoying the luxuries of life on the inside. I even actually got to take a public boat to get to the hostel my friends and I stayed at, crossing from Amsterdam Centrum to Amsterdam Noord and back.

Another point of beauty are the museums in the city. I’m usually not a person to seek out museums, but I actually went to both the Vincent Van Gogh museum and the Rijkmuseum (pictured right past the “Iamsterdam” sign in the photo above). Wow, was I blown away by both of these exhibits. I was transported to the 1800’s in the Van Gogh museum, and was pretty much scattered across the world in all sorts of eras at the Rijkmuseum. I’d even go on a limb and say it was up to par with the Louvre in Paris! That’s how much I enjoyed it.

Photo courtesy of Luke Zeme.

Other than that, just walking up and down the streets is breathtaking. The interior of all the stores are all so elegantly and creatively designed; the food on display looks as good as it tastes; and the jingle of bicycle bells becomes your little hymn as you wander. It’s truly a marvelous city with a charm that I haven’t really found anywhere else. Oh Amsterdam, Oh Amsterdam. For now we part, but only to see each other again in the near future!