This week we spoke with one of our tour guides, Marjolein, who was born and raised in Amsterdam. She recently discovered that tourism is her passion, and she enjoys connecting with others through the tours that she does.
Here are her answers to our questions:
Q: How did you become a tour guide?
A: I worked in International Business for many years. A few years ago, I decided that it was time to change careers and to find something that I wanted to do in the future. I went to study to become a national guide and discovered that this was my passion.
Q: Why would you recommend doing a food tour?
A: Food and drinks are a great way to unite people. And a food tour is a great way to get to know each other. During a food tour, you can also easily mix in history and culture. You can connect almost anything to food. For example, on a tour someone might ask, “Why are we eating Indonesian food?” And this opens a conversation about the links between the Dutch and Indonesian cultures and the history behind this connection.
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: One tip would be to take a walk along the Amstel River. You can walk as far as you like, and there are many lovely things to see and do along the way. Another would be to explore the man-made Western Islands: Bickerseiland, Prinseneiland, and Realeneiland. These islands are quieter than the rest of the city. Originally, the warehouses were in this area. Today, it’s one of the most beautiful – and expensive – places to live in Amsterdam. These islands are also easy to explore on foot.
Q: What is your favorite food, and where in Amsterdam do you most like to eat it?
A: Italian food is one of my favorites. And I like to go to Domenica, a lovely little Italian restaurant in the Jordaan.
Q: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned during your time as a (food) tour guide?
A: I learn new things every day and on every tour. Despite having lived in Amsterdam all my life, I still notice small new details about the buildings, streets, and so on. Sometimes someone asks a question, and it prompts me to think about something and to do more research. The interaction on the tours is fantastic, and the learning works both ways. And sometimes people stay in touch with me after the tours, which is fun and rewarding.
Q: What other tours do you provide, besides the food tours?
A: In addition to the food tours, I also provide almost any kind of walking tours in Amsterdam. I prefer to include at least a drink and usually also a snack in all my tours, even if they’re not specifically food tours. Because of my background in the financial industry, I also do a Finance & Trade tour in Amsterdam. You can find more information about my other tours on my website, https://mforamsterdam.com.
For Marjolein, one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the food tours is that they connect worlds. And she sees food as the starting point for sharing knowledge about culture, history, and more. During a food tour with Marjolein, you have the ideal opportunity to connect with the local culture and to discover the city from the perspective of a true Amsterdammer. As she says herself, the city flows through her veins.
Want to discover the real Amsterdam with us?