By Dorri Mang. Anouk Slot, Emma Cottenie, Noëlle Batelaan
A Cat’s Eye
My name is Cashmere, and I live at the Poezenboot in Amsterdam. It’s the high class cat shelter and house in Amsterdam. I like it because I live the ultimate posh-cat life. I get to run around a boat with other cats, some of whom I absolutely detest, but I’ll get to that later. I get fed and taken care of by two wonderful women. But I know you’re not really here right meow to listen to me talk about my life. So let me give you a little background on the Poezenboot itself. I’m the oldest cat in the shelter, so you came to the right place for information: I know everything. First off, it all began in 1966, when a human named Henriette van Weelde found
my kittens and I on the Herengracht and took care of us. I don’t know if you’ve heard the phrase, but after one cat, many cats follow, so Henriette soon found herself with more furry friends than she could have ever imagined. She absolutely loved two things: boats and cats, so quickly after she donned the nickname ‘cat lady’ she decided to completely embrace it. She bou ght a boat for me! Well, for all of the cats. In 1968 she called it, “The Poezenboot”. Fast forward to right meow, and I live here with about 20 other cats. Right now there aren’t that many felines living here because winter is the most popular time to adopt cats. Every year the Poezenboot rehomes about 250-300 cats, and remains
the only place cats can live in peace (kinda) together on the water. While I miss Henriette, the two humans who take care of me now do a substantial enough job. I love being able to look out on the water every morning when I get up. I also love torturing my fellow friend, Schippy. I think one of the major benefits of living on the water is that more people want to come and visit us. Our house is open to the public from 13:00-15:00 every day except Wednesday and Sunday, and during those hours, it is always packed. I think the coolest thing about our house is that there are permanent residents (like myself) and also cats to be rehomed. There are two ways that you can adopt a cat: you can sponsor one of us by transferring money to ‘De Poezenboot’ once a month to provide food and toys and litter, or you can take one of us home with you. But if you’re going to take one of us home, it better to be to a purrfect place, because we are used to living the posh life on a houseboat. Life could not be better than it is right meow on the Poezenboot.
Is Amsterdam from the Water A Snore?
Rederij Plas, a tourist boat in the center of Amsterdam, takes people out to view the sites of the city approximately every 30 minutes. The tourist company has at least two boats running constantly, and gives hour-long tours. While taking a boat tour of Amsterdam may seem like the ultimate tourist thing to do, are people doing it simply because they are checking something off the list, or does it really give a more comprehensive understanding of Amsterdam to the visitor?
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Amsterdam is to go on a canal boat ride. There are hundreds of different opportunities to go on a boat ride once you arrive in the city, and many of them are very similar to each other, ranging from a ride around the canals during the day, to a tour of the watercolor light festival during the night. However, they give one very important viewpoint to the traveler or tourist, and that is Amsterdam from the water.
When on a Rederij Plas adventure, the driver of one of the boats, Emile van Deckler, will supplement the tape recording of the various spectacular city sights with descriptions of his favorite parts of Amsterdam. Going on a boat trip as a tourist seems to be exhilarating, this confirmed by the multiple people on the trip that were napping. However, Crystal Ruiz (32), a tourist from the USA, says, “It’s cool because you see Amsterdam in a way that you don’t see it when you’re walking down the street. It gives you a different perspective.”
While it seems to accomplish the goal of seeing the city, and helping people to understand what Amsterdam is like as a whole, it seems like many tourists take the ride merely because someone told them to. Elizabeth Corinne (31), who was traveling with Crystal, absolutely hated the boat tour. “It was hot, stuffy, and incredibly dull. I would rather have walked around the city by myself. It was not worth the 10 euro.” Next to Crystal and Elizabeth, one woman slept while her husband enthusiastically took photos.
When asked how sales were at this time of year, Emile reported, “I fill the boat up almost every time we go out”. While it seems to be contrary to how they acted while on the boat, many tourists left the experience feeling like they understood Amsterdam as a whole, a few even bought the ultimate-tourist- souvenir; the overpriced photo taken by the staff while everyone entered the boat.
Overall, even from the perspective of someone who has been living in Amsterdam for four months now, I saw buildings on my own street that I had walked past a million times but never even noticed. I learned background on buildings that can only be truly seen in their entirety from
the water. While I think that perhaps the tourist industry need to revamp their marketing model, it seems to be working to generate business, even if tourists are simply paying 10 euro or more for a nap and a check on a to-do list.