Opinion: The new seriousness of Amsterdam

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First, I had to remember how to pack again for a big trip. I added masks, doubled-checked my health coverage, and compulsively reviewed ever-changing international travel rules and Covid testing requirements. After months of avoiding crowds, busy airport lounges and check-in lines were unnerving. Most people wore masks, as required, but the few who refused or kept them on their chins reignited that burning fury that threatened to rob me of that prickling anticipation of being transported to a new reality. But I made it.

Amsterdam feels different. The August air is cool, the skies overcast, but something has changed.

Last year was the first in more than 20 that I didn’t come here. While I was away, 1.9 million contracted the coronavirus and nearly 18,000 died of Covid here in the Netherlands, a country of 17 million people. But things are getting better, and Amsterdam is coming back to life.

There’s an unfamiliar seriousness in the air. The city that…

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