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Each time I mentioned to someone that my European adventure was finishing up in Amsterdam, the response has been raised eyebrows. Each time, I found it peculiar.

In Brussels last weekend, I met someone who actually lives here, and he told me he gets the same reaction merely for mentioning where he’s from. It’s a little juvenile, I think. Sure, the city is famous for drugs and sex, but that’s hardly all it’s famous for. It’s not as if JTA would send me to a city merely for its debaucheries, right?

That said, this is my sixth time here. Yes, sixth. The first time was with my parents, when I was 12. Then sometime in college I discovered that if you bought a ticket to Israel on KLM, you were guaranteed a stopover here. Two trips, four stopovers. 

Two is also the number of stories I’m pursuing here. One is about the rise of the European right-wing, a story I’ve been searching for a way into for weeks and finally found in the Netherlands. The other is about a critical documentary about the United Nations by an American Jewish filmmaker that is showing at the International Documentary Film Festival. JTA got me credentials for the festival, so I expect to see a lot of movies in the coming days, which should keep me out of trouble.