Crash landing at Schiphol Airport

Schiphol airport in Amsterdam used to be my favorite large city international airport. It offered a quiet lounge furnished with couches, a children playing area with soft pads and cushions, a room for praying, which was an oasis of tranquility, and even a small art gallery featuring selections from Rijksmuseum. I always thought: Oh, the Dutch, they know something about quality of life! Well, I was wrong: they were simply behind everybody else in dragging the travelers into the chamber of horrors of consumerism, which is what the major airports have become.

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On my recent visit to Schiphol, I found myself waiting for the gate departure in a huge noisy shopping mall under extremely bright florescent lights, assaulted by advertising from every possible direction. Gone are the quiet areas and soft seats, gone are the café-like corners, replaced with a large fast-food cafeteria. The closest thing to tranquility is the computer working area, with its hard, sit-up-straight chairs.

Some marketing geniuses have concluded that if this captive population with two hours to spare and the vacation-spending mindset is aggressively stimulated and kept restlessly moving, they shop more. Well, this is to you, marketing geniuses: it does not work for me, and hopefully not for many others. I refuse to buy anything at the New Schiphol. I just need to figure out some new quiet and soft corner to hide.

 

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