Amsterdam This March

By Jasmin Ronach

Whether you believe it or not, there is life outside “the bubble”. This term invokes the image of a small, protective environment, and refers to the dorms as the center point of many AUC students’ lives. An uneventful night seems unthinkable, but when it does occur, it is because most of us are buckling under the weight of deadlines and assignments. Sometimes, maybe especially after those stressful periods, it can be good to get out of this safe haven and to see and learn something new. Now that spring has almost begun, it is time to get out of our dormitories and explore the city in all its beauty, its culture and engage in that aspect of internationality that we probably all declared was a reason for coming to AUC between one and three years ago. I ask you: Are you a student of the bubble, or a student of Amsterdam? If aiming for the latter, let this article be your guide.

HOW TO ENJOY NATURE

First off, I want to show you a few ways you can enjoy the spring this year. If not blessed with one of those rare days without rain, then do not despair: There is still a way to marvel at the wonders of nature without getting wet.


The Joy of Nature
March 1 to April 21 at the Van Gogh Museum

 You can feel “The Joy of Nature” by seeing the paintings of David Hockney, an artist who is world-famous for his use of bright colors and experimentation with perspective. The exhibition pairs his art with pieces by Van Gogh, who has been his inspiration.


Keukenhof 
March 21 until May 19

If you are instead looking for the real deal when it comes to seeing and experiencing spring, you can visit Keukenhof towards the end of the month. The famous flower park lies outside of Amsterdam and attracts about 1.4 million visitors each year.


Amstelpark
Any time

For something a little closer by, try having a picnic in a nearby park. While Flevopark might already be well-known to many students, it could pay off to try out new spots, like Amstelpark in the South of the city. Despite being half an hour away by bike or bus, a trip will be more than worthwhile as the park has much to offer, like various flower gardens and even park animals, such as various kinds of birds, bats, cows and even kangaroos. Aside from that, there are ever-changing art exhibitions.


Botanikurs 101
March 24 from 14:30 to 16:00 at Stichting Mediamatic

What if you are already enjoying Amsterdam in spring so much that you want to bring it back home?  The workshop by the indoor plant expert “Plantmom” teaches you how not to kill your flowers. It is conducted for a small group with a participation fee of €10.50 for students.


THE MONTH OF ACTIVISM

March is an exciting month for the climate-conscious student. On March 10 you can come to Dam Square to  protest the big polluters and demand change in this year’s March for Climate (“Klimaatmars”) . There will also be plenty of opportunity to learn more about how we should respond to the challenges of climate change in terms of policy-making.


Climate Change on Trial
March 19 from 13:00 to 14:00 at the Roeterseiland campus

The student-run initiative Room for Discussion has invited two experts, which are the co-chair of UN Environment’s Global Environmental Outlook-6 and the Spokesperson for Economy at Milieudefensie. Room for Discussion has previously had leaders in world trade, politics and even space travel on their platform. Writing from personal experience, their events are held in a comfortable atmosphere where students are also allowed to ask questions in between sections of the interview or discussion. For those who are unable to attend, the events are always recorded and can be watched on the Facebook page of Room for Discussion.


From #MeToo to #WeToo
March 11 from 18:00 to 20:30  at the Roeterseiland campus

Besides fighting for the climate, March has a lot more in store for those whose goal it is to become more socially-aware and take action for the greater good. After the International Women’s Day on March 8 and the  Women’s March today, there is still plenty of opportunity to dive deeper into the issues surrounding women’s rights. The event “From #MeToo to #WeToo” aims to explore how to not only raise awareness about oppression and harassment, but also how to equip people with the tools to defend themselves or others if they ever come into this situation. The aim is to bring people from all backgrounds and identities into the conversation. To participate, you only have to RSVP, while the event itself is free.


Century Session: 100 Years Women’s Suffrage in The Netherlands
March 19 from 20:00 to 22:00 at CREA

If you would simply like to get objectively presented facts about the situation of women’s rights today and over the years, this might be the event for you. Three experts will discuss the topic of a century of suffrage at CREA, where they will dig deep into the history and draw comparisons between the situation for women in several places around the world, to show how much has already been achieved and what we still need to improve. Make sure you don’t forget to RSVP if you want to indulge in two hours full of female history.


AN ODE TO THE AESTHETIC

The following activities may be interesting for the cinephiles, the bookworms and the lovers of everything aesthetically pleasing.


Female Frame
Starting March 8 at Lab111

Starting with what is happening in Amsterdam’s cinemas, you might already be familiar with Lab111, a movie theatre that exists within the building of a former anatomic pathology laboratory and is known for its “film & diner”-nights. In the name of female empowerment, their entire slate of movies for the month of March will be focused around the topic of the “Female frame”, highlighting female protagonists and directors. The series kicks off on International Women’s Day, March 8, and features films such as “Pariah”, about a Brooklyn teenager growing up with a family that has trouble coming to terms with her sexuality; “Persepolis” is the coming-of-age story of a girl during the Islamic Revolution in Iran and; “I am not a Witch” portrays the difficult decision of a girl sentenced to a state-run witch camp, about whether she should take a risk for the possibility of freedom.


Library Night
March 13 from 22:00 to 03:00 at the Singel library

If you find yourself enjoying a good, old-fashioned book just as much as a night out, then the Library Night may be able to give you the best of both worlds. You can spend the night among fellow bookworms, where workshops take place as well as a silent disco – we are in a library after all! Tickets can be acquired online, but the event itself is free.


Workshop on Aesthetics & Society
March 14 from 17:00 to 21:30 at Sexyland

For a ticket price of €10 including dinner, you can participate in the interactive research workshop at Sexyland, which revolves around the role of aesthetics in ethics, art, philosophy and social structures. Besides a keynote speech, there will be workshop tables by different experts from the UvA, Erasmus University Rotterdam, European Cultural Foundation and others.


Hopefully this selection of activities and places has inspired you to take a break from everyday college life and actively participate in life outside our bubble.  After all, we are not just students at AUC, but also residents of a worldly city full of culture. As such, should we not make the best of the three years we have here and explore all that Amsterdam can give?

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