Meet our Tour Guides: Kolja

This week we spoke with another one of our tour guides, Kolja. She is originally from Amsterdam but also spent eight years in Spain, which is where she started working as a tour leader. She enjoys being around people and creating a great atmosphere for her guests.

Here are her answers to our questions:

Q: How did you become a tour guide?
A: I started out working as a journalist in the Netherlands. I then moved to Spain, and there I started working as a tour leader. When I moved back to the Netherlands a few years later, I decided that I would rather continue working as a tour guide than go back to journalism. I enjoy history, culture, and art, and I studied a lot to prepare myself for being a local guide in Amsterdam. I also spent a lot of time in the Amsterdam City Archives to learn as much as possible about the city.

Q: Why would you recommend doing a food tour?
A: Food really represents a culture. And when you share food, you automatically share something with each other, which creates a more personal connection. It’s not the same as just having an audio guide. On a food tour, you have proper interaction with your guide, as well as with local vendors. And I believe that this contact with local vendors plays an important role in sustainable tourism. You also get to see where the locals go to eat, and you gain insight into the regular life of the people living in Amsterdam.

Q: What would be your number 1 tip for someone who has only a few days to spend in Amsterdam (besides a food tour)?
A: I’d recommend doing a museum tour in the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, or the Van Gogh Museum. A canal cruise is also a really nice way to see the city.

Q: What is your favorite food, and where in Amsterdam do you most like to eat it?
A: I’d say haring (herring). I also enjoy the cheese from my local cheese farm.

Q: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned during your time as a (food) tour guide?
A: When I first started giving the food tours, I was very surprised to learn about the breeding habits of the smoked eels that we taste during the tour. They’re freshwater fish, but they travel all the way to the Sargasso Sea (which is part of the Atlantic Ocean) to reproduce. From there, the baby eels travel all the way back to the freshwater sources that their parents came from.

Q: What other tours do you provide, besides the food tours?
A: Aside from the food tours, I do tours in the historical parts of Amsterdam. I also do museum tours and tours to places such as Zaanse Schans, as well as tours to other Dutch cities. I even do tours to Belgium.

Kolja enjoys communication and sharing her life here with others. She also enjoys discovering the history and culture and sharing this knowledge with guests. Doing a food tour with Kolja gives you a great opportunity to gain insight into the local life in Amsterdam. She can also answer all the questions you have about the food, the history, and the culture.

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