People

Bacchus: Crowded Spaces

By July 3, 2019 July 10th, 2019 No Comments

On warm spring days like today, Amsterdam, along with the flowers, starts to blossom again. Sunny terraces fill up with joyful people, the city beach gets crowded immediately and the parks turn into lively places to relax. Despite the cosiness of an eventful, warm, busy city, I do sometimes long for nature and some more space. For me, the nice weather is linked to relaxing in the garden and being outside in general. Going to the park in the city or sitting on a balcony doesn’t feel like actually ‘being outside’, because there is still only a limited amount of space available. I wonder if I’m a fan of living in a city after all. Of course, living in a big city has a lot of nice perks. There are plenty of events to attend, many people to meet and of course there is the possibility to study at a university. Exchanging these perks, alongside many others, for some more space and trees doesn’t seem like a bad trade at all. But still, after staying in the city for a few weeks straight, I always start to long for some more breathing space.

I might not be much of a city person, but then I wonder if such phenomena as a city or countrperson even exist. Before moving to Amsterdam, I lived in a small city – not a small village – so you would say I am used to the city life. However, it often doesn’t feel like I am. Amsterdam, with eight times the inhabitants of my home town, is a totally different beast of a city than I grew up in. You can find tourists everywhere; the city barely ever sleeps, and it takes a long time to get from the city centre to the edge of town. This hustle and bustle of the big city can sometimes make me feel trapped.

A theory trying to explain the difference between city and country people has to do with neuroticism. Research shows that that people who score low on the personality trait neuroticism enjoy living in the city more, because they have a larger attention span and are able handle the abundance of stimuli better. If you score high on this particular trait, you are more likely to experience unhappiness and distress in a city, because you aren’t as good at handling all the stimuli the city provides. Maybe this is a better explanation for my longing for nature and space. I might just have a neurotic personality, that fares better outside the stress of the city. If you look at Amsterdammers, you could say they seem relaxed, which confirms this explanation. However, I find it hard to imagine that all people living in cities are less neurotic than people who live in more rural areas. Maybe city people are just more used to all the chaos that is present in big cities, and I too might adapt to this in due time.

But still, when I compare the people I grew up with, with real ‘city people’, I feel like there is a difference. It looks like people from the big city find themselves and their city very important, like it’s the centre of the world. This might be a personal bias, but I feel like I can usually tell which people are from a big city at my part-time job as a waiter. Both are usually kind, but city people seem to more often take things for granted more often than non-city people. Country people for instance, genuinely seem to be happier with a nice cup of cappuccino compared to city people, who aren’t as impressed.

All in all, I don’t think city people are better than country people or the other way around. Both of them are just used to different lifestyles, and these can change. I too might become a real city person someday, if I just get used to the lifestyle.

On warm spring days like today, Amsterdam, along with the flowers, starts to blossom again. Sunny terraces fill up with joyful people, the city beach gets crowded immediately and the parks turn into lively places to relax. Despite the cosiness of an eventful, warm, busy city, I do sometimes long for nature and some more space. For me, the nice weather is linked to relaxing in the garden and being outside in general. Going to the park in the city or sitting on a balcony doesn’t feel like actually ‘being outside’, because there is still only a limited amount of space available. I wonder if I’m a fan of living in a city after all. Of course, living in a big city has a lot of nice perks. There are plenty of events to attend, many people to meet and of course there is the possibility to study at a university. Exchanging these perks, alongside many others, for some more space and trees doesn’t seem like a bad trade at all. But still, after staying in the city for a few weeks straight, I always start to long for some more breathing space.

I might not be much of a city person, but then I wonder if such phenomena as a city or countryperson even exist. Before moving to Amsterdam, I lived in a small city – not a small village – so you would say I am used to the city life. However, it often doesn’t feel like I am. Amsterdam, with eight times the inhabitants of my home town, is a totally different beast of a city than I grew up in. You can find tourists everywhere; the city barely ever sleeps, and it takes a long time to get from the city centre to the edge of town. This hustle and bustle of the big city can sometimes make me feel trapped.

A theory trying to explain the difference between city and country people has to do with neuroticism. Research shows that that people who score low on the personality trait neuroticism enjoy living in the city more, because they have a larger attention span and are able handle the abundance of stimuli better. If you score high on this particular trait, you are more likely to experience unhappiness and distress in a city, because you aren’t as good at handling all the stimuli the city provides. Maybe this is a better explanation for my longing for nature and space. I might just have a neurotic personality, that fares better outside the stress of the city. If you look at Amsterdammers, you could say they seem relaxed, which confirms this explanation. However, I find it hard to imagine that all people living in cities are less neurotic than people who live in more rural areas. Maybe city people are just more used to all the chaos that is present in big cities, and I too might adapt to this in due time.

But still, when I compare the people I grew up with, with real ‘city people’, I feel like there is a difference. It looks like people from the big city find themselves and their city very important, like it’s the centre of the world. This might be a personal bias, but I feel like I can usually tell which people are from a big city at my part-time job as a waiter. Both are usually kind, but city people seem to more often take things for granted more often than non-city people. Country people for instance, genuinely seem to be happier with a nice cup of cappuccino compared to city people, who aren’t as impressed.

All in all, I don’t think city people are better than country people or the other way around. Both of them are just used to different lifestyles, and these can change. I too might become a real city person someday, if I just get used to the lifestyle.

Julius Dullaert

Author Julius Dullaert

Julius Dullaert (1998) is a third year psychology student, interested in Social Psychology and Philosophy. He likes to write about society, memory and music.

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