amsterdam got its first Starbucks about a month ago. actually, other than the one in Schipol Airport, I'm pretty sure it's one of the first Starbucks to open in Holland. it was pretty great to watch. The Dutch people were really excited about it, with lineup extending out the door and wrapping around the store. the newly-trained barristas were nervous, and you could see them silently begging you not to order a complicated drink ("Americano? i can do Americano!"). it was fun to see all the excitement about it.
still...Douglas Coupland calls McDonald the Taint, but i really think Starbucks is "The Taint" in Europe. Europeans generally make good coffee - they don't need a Starbucks. sure, back at home in suburban Canada, i'll willingly drive to the Starbucks and pay five bucks for a fancy espresso drink just for the hip atmosphere and to have a decent cup of coffee, but that's because regular North American coffee sucks and you have to pay the extra to get the reliably good coffee, at Starbucks. In Europe, you can get a damn good cup of coffee even at a bar. there's no need for the Starbucks here, except maybe to promote the North American idea of "coffee to go" (a concept that Europe is still just learning). But i thoroughly disapprove of the Americanization of Europe, even though it might be inevitable. Fight, europe! Fight! Rage, rage against the dying of the light! Do not go gentle into that good night!
McDonalds, on the other hand, are already a dime a dozen around here. My favourite McDonalds snack in Amsterdam? Bitterballen.