Field trip to Amsterdam - March 2014
by Cherry Allen
A group of Publishing undergraduates spent a few days in Amsterdam in March for Dutch Book Week (Boekenweek), visiting our Erasmus partner, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Cherry Allen writes about their experiences.
A video was made during the trip.
Day 1: Waking up early on a Sunday morning is only good fun if you know you’re heading to the airport to jump on a mighty flying machine!
Arriving in Amsterdam was a wonderful relief as we were met by glorious sunshine. As we jumped off the tram near to Hans Brinker hotel we were hastily informed about the bike lanes that are not only very busy but also are difficult to distinguish from pavements. This was going to be an interesting few days!
Day 2: The group met after breakfast bright and early in the hostel common room, from where we took a walk down Spiegelgracht to the Rijksmuseum.
Next, we walked – yes walked – to the Hogeschool Van Amsterdam! This is the university which does a very similar course to Publishing and whose students joined us six weeks previously at Brookes. It was lovely to see them all again and it wasn’t long before a great conversational kick started again. Helena and Beverley, and Rose from HVA, delivered some short presentations to introduce us to the topic which would keep us busy for the next two days. Following the presentations we were split into groups and discussed new and emerging trends in publishing. After some ideas were thrown around the classroom we were sent back off into the sunshine in our groups with one trend assigned to us. My group chose ebooks, and so did another so we merged and became one super group of ten!
We sat outside a café by the river Amstel and enjoyed some lunch while discussing some questions we could ask about ebook usage for a survey we would then be completing.
Day 3: Another early start and long walk – yes walk – back to the HVA. Back in our groups we were briefed on our challenge for the day! We would explore the city – fists in the air – and take pictures displaying the results of the survey for our section. Now there was a twist! Not just pictures showing the results in a room full of books, no, we needed to be original! The pictures needed to be sent to the lecturers by 12.30 and then we had a second project – it was more of a competition really. Each group was given a postcard. Our task was to find the location on the postcard and take the picture again from the right angle and slip in a book in a ‘where’s Wally’ fashion. Now, it must be included that this was not just any book; it was a book which was this year, the free giveaway for Dutch Book Week. This is a tradition for the annual event and it is an honour to be asked, as an author, to write the free book for the event.
We arrived back at the HVA with a minute or two to spare and all gathered to see what we had made, with the help and most effort from the lecturers. We were very pleased with the video.
Day 4: Today we were able to sleep in until 8.30! Lucky we were. It was checkout day so frantic packing and triple room-searches were undergone to make sure we left nothing behind. We made the most of our last day by walking – yes walking – once again through the streets of Amsterdam.
We found a flower market running alongside the river. We stopped in a traditional Dutch pancake café and indulged. We found a Christmas shop which, alas, allowed no pictures. We did our last-minute gift-buying and tried to find places we’d been shown the day before. Finally, with achy feet we arrived back at the hostel to collect our suitcases and catch the tram back to the Station Centraal.
For those of you who missed out this year or are just about to start the Publishing Media course next year, I would say just go for it. Don’t think, just go. Keep Calm and Visit Amsterdam.
Last edited: 27 01 2018