I caught up with Sandra St. Victor a few months ago for Ebony magazine and a bulk of our chat was about her newest project, Oya’s Daughter. However, she’s so cool and fascinating that we got into other topics, one of them being her appreciation for Amsterdam and the Netherlands.
The veteran singer is originally from Dallas, but an intended journey across Europe sparked major life changes for St. Victor that caused her to relocate to Holland. She told me that in the early 2,000’s (it feels weird saying that), her daughter went off to college and as a way to deal with empty nest syndrome she planned to “gypsy around.” Her trip halted when she ran into an ex in Amsterdam, rekindled the flame and eventually birthed two more children.
Now over a decade later, Sandra St. Victor is still loving life overseas so I had to get her take on what to see in Amsterdam, especially since it’s on my list of places to visit (hear me, universe?).
You have to see the Rijksmuseum. They’ve just redone the whole thing and it’s in-freaking-credible! People usually want to see the red light district and they want to do the hobby houses, which don’t sell coffee, but the only tourist ting I would suggest is the Rijksmuseum because it’s fabulous.
Exploring the Canals
To get a real feel of the places here, find a local person that rents out a regular boat– not one of those tourist boats with a guide–but get somebody to rent out a boat and go to those canals. Row through the city and then you will feel like you’re a part of your surroundings. You’ll feel like you’re connecting with the Earth of this country by rowing on the waters because they are the masters of the water, and you’ll get a sense of the people, the city and the architecture.
Leave the City
Go outside of Amsterdam too, because there’s so much beauty in this country and one of the most beautiful places is actually where I live, Arnhem, because it’s one of the only places that has hilly acres. Most of Holland and the Netherlands is flat lands but Arnhem has hills and the most amazing expansive pastures and beauty, so I would always suggest to come to Arnhem. There’s also a lot of history here because of World War II. The movie A Bridge Too Far is about the John Frost bridge here in Arnhem, so every time I cross that bridge to go to the store I’m reminded of the men that died on that bridge in WWII, and every year they come here–the ones that are left–to just commemorate the lost souls, so Arnhem is a very important city in the Netherlands, it’s kinda cool to live here.