Since arriving in Amsterdam four days ago, I’ve done more walking and bike riding than I have in a long time.
The city of Amsterdam is breathtakingly beautiful. Just like in the movies, Amsterdam’s canals and cobblestone streets make for a picturesque backdrop to a curious culture.
As we strolled through the city last night after a delicious dinner in an Indonesian restaurant (one of the culinary specialties in this city of many cultures), we passed through the Red Light District, by quaint high-end boutiques and cafes, and alongside an old canal house-turned-museum called Our Lord in the Attic.
During the Protestant Reformation, Catholicism was banned in the city. So, a wealthy local Catholic merchant invited fellow parishioners into the upper room of his home to celebrate mass.
Our guide, Cornelia, shared an anecdote about Our Lord in the Attic that speaks to the tolerance for which the Dutch are best known. During the Reformation, when numerous Catholics flocked to the wealthy merchant’s home for mass on Sundays, a Protestant man standing outside the home complained to a local constable.
“Why don’t you arrest them? Can’t you see the Catholics are breaking the law?”
To which the constable replied, “Sir, like you, I am a good Protestant and don’t work on Sundays. I’ll come back tomorrow, though, and if they’re still there, I’ll arrest them.”
Dutch tolerance at its finest.