HAPPY HUMP DAY!!
We were all a little less bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning as sleeping was not as easy not being dead tired from flying like the night before, but this definitely didn’t help us from showing our excitement as, “zoo time is the best time!” We got up and go going right away to public transportation to go to the Artis Royal Zoo for our private tour. We had an amazing volunteer guide that had so much knowledge and expertise about all the various animals in the zoo, along with being so willing to answer all our questions. You definitely know that you’re a bunch of agriculture students when while looking at the elephants there are inquiries about artificial insemination and if it’s possible with them. Let me tell you that goes into a very deep conversation with our tour guide and a lot of random facts gained about elephants and their breeding processes! We got to see many species of birds, butterflies, monkeys, gorillas, lions, giraffes, zebras, penguins, sea lions, and so much more. It was an absolute blast to see and learn about various species from all around the world. There were many laughs shared by all and an experience we will not forget.
After completing our private tour of the zoo we had some free time to have lunch and wander about Amsterdam a little bit before going on a three hour walking tour of the city. This involved making a stop for coffee/drinks as everyone was looking for some of that energy! There was a flea market going on in the streets so everyone got the opportunity to explore that for souvenirs, try fresh baked Dutch delicacies, or just to spending some time hanging out!
We began our walking tour near the flea market at a big Catholic cathedral that is no longer in use that is located where the Jews came and lived (very poorly) trying to find freedom of religion back in the time of Hitler. From there we able to learn some about Het Rembrandthuis and his successes and failures with art. We were able to learn lots of interesting facts about various areas of the city. It’s amazing to know how much of the U.S.’s history comes from/originated with thoughts/processes here in Holland itself. Such as our Declaration of Independence was based off of a document originated by the Dutch that John Adams came across and took back to the United States. In which he also had a house here in Amsterdam when he came here to get funds to fund the war. There is so much history in the city of Amsterdam I could go on for days!
Lastly, but most definitely not least we got to learn about agriculture here and how it got its start; specifically in the bulb/flower industry. Agriculture itself started in Holland when individuals had the opportunity to purchase land along the canals to build their houses on, but the land purchased was not all allowed to be used for the house. When they purchased the land they were required to use about half of the land for a garden, which had to be the back half leaving the front half of the land along the canal for the house to be built on. The Dutch then got into a rivalry with their neighbors and it was all about who had the biggest and nicest garden in the area. They began hiring people on ships to bring plants, etc. back from countries all over the world; until it was decided that Holland themselves wanted to be in the business. It sure wasn’t a plan they had in mind; but it goes to show you can’t plan everything that happens in life you have to go with the flow and see what happens!
It was a very informational day and great to get to know and understand more of this amazing city that we get to spend such a great deal of time in! We all enjoyed ourselves and will sleep good tonight; even though our feet may hurt from about seven miles of walking throughout the day it was well worth it. We are excited to go on more adventures tomorrow including the Anne Frank House.
Kayla Seidler, North Dakota State University