We got there at 17:15. 45 minutes before Obama would take his oath and plenty early. Or so we thought! Felix Meritis was packed already. Outside, it was hard to find a space for the bikes. Inside, there was standing room only by the big screen. And it took me a good ten minutes to order beers.
There was much anticipation and the crowd was rather rowdy – at least for such a ceremonial event. There were boos when George W. entered and loud cheers when Obama arrived. An early highlight was Aretha Franklin – legendary also in Amsterdam’s literary circles. Obama raising his hand to take the oath provoked a collective roar by the large crowd, which then attentively followed his speech.