Hot ‘Dam’: The Amsterdam tram top 10


As if Amsterdam’s ridiculously high quality of life wasn’t enough to give us serious jelly beans, its tram system, run by an agency called GVB, also wins. Buckle in for my Amsterdam tram Top 10 list; this is what everyone does there on vacation, right?

10. It travels through some of the densest, oldest, most heavily touristed parts of town, intermingling with footpaths everywhere, and it never seemed anywhere close to hitting someone. Kudos to it and transit-aware pedestrians.

See above and below for #9: Some of the trams dress up for Pride! As well they should as ambassadors for their fair city. We’ve always loved displays of equality and solidarity on Muni.


8. It looks like a face from the front, and I refuse to believe it’s just me.

7. Its origins of literal horsepower. Several tram lines are descendants of horse-powered lines from the 1800s. Amsterdam, it’s just like us!

6. You pay in the back, with a person who is not the driver, if you need to buy a ticket on the tram. Good luck not feeling like an asshole for sneaking on.

5. The fact that Line 4 gave itself an bath in the Amstel (the river, not the beer) in 1950, prompting me to say, today: Go home, Line 4. You’re drunk. Disclaimer OK, I do not know the circumstances around that image and I hope everyone was safe.

4. Disabled seats are a different color than the rest and marked with pregnant or elderly stick figures. SF, do we need to make it more obvious?

3. THIS ANECDOTE, h/t Wikipedia, the source of all things: “From 1922 until 1971, all trams had mailboxes at their rear side. These were emptied at Centraal Station; the post office’s distribution centre was located next to the station…Thanks to the tram mailboxes, a letter could be delivered on time, even if it is too late for the last collection from the regular mailboxes.”

2. This view from my window on a 2. The 33, the J, T and N all provide some stellar views of San Francisco — and it warms my heart when a new-to-me view shows up during travel.


1. This game <3. Srsly GO away, Pokemon Go.


If you need me, I’ll be relentlessly pitching GVB Diaries to the powers that be.

One comment

  • Catherine

    Love your post. Lived in SF for 15 years (faithful JChurch rider here) before moving to Amsterdam where I don’t have to have a car cause, you know, trams and biking. Favorite recent display of patience by a tram driver was a rush hour announcement “stoned French people in the back, this is your stop.” Tot ziens!

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