Amsterdam knows how to be ALIVE. It wasn’t that the 31st was filled, for the entire day, of fireworks randomly going off around the city, including some right outside our window. It wasn’t the build-up around 11:30pm of really intense, concentrated fireworks of all shapes colors and sizes, all kinds of explosive sounds and smells coming from every street and from the air, like a battlefield of awesome, an Awesome War, complete with one richocheting off us, that moved me.
It was nearly a full 90 minutes in to this intensity of fireworks and celebration — the likes of which we Americans usually reserve for our finalé only — that compelled me to weep tears of joy to be there, in that moment. To be fully alive, holding onto the metal handrails of a bridge as I wept. I’ve never cried so much for joy my entire life.
The revelrie continued well throughout the wee hours, and nobody was dampened by the drizzle. Kids were still out lighting firecrackers with their father’s cigarettes. People were still dancing at home.
Looking at photos now I see how organized everyone is. All the champagne bottles piled up by the citizens on the curb, before the street cleaning happened. I suppose in a city that’s built atop a dam, where everyone and their houses are tall since there’s no room to go wide, you grow up being methodical.
You also know when to explode that sensibility.