More Than Pot and Prostitutes in Amsterdam

Posted on 02. Jul, 2010 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Netherlands

I didn’t know exactly what to expect from Amsterdam. It’s one of the few cities that is abundantly known by its clichés, i.e. prostitutes, drugs, canals and bicycles, as if it the whole city was exclusively about these four things. I really wanted to see for myself what Amsterdam what all about.

So there I was, freshly out of Amsterdam Centraal and realizing this: the last cliché was right on. Bicycles truly are everywhere. There’s even a giant bicycle storey parking outside the train station!

Typical canalside view

As we got into Amsterdam in early evening and checked in our hostel pretty easily (Trianon Hostel, Jan Willem Brouwersstraat 3, 1071 LH Amsterdam), all we did is have a meal near the Dam and hanged around the area a little bit, enjoying the  lightly dimmed canals. The following day, it was an early start to the longest strolling day known to mankind. We couldn’t get enough of canals, the cute facades and rooftops, almost getting killed by either bicycles or trams, everything. Plus it was a bright sunny day, so even the weather was on our side.

Keukenhof Gardens

What stroked me the most about the city is the transportation. It was a bit overwhelming having to deal with cars, bicycles, trams, pedestrians and more bicycles in street that are somewhat tiny for all this traffic. This coordination could definitely fail and end up in a massive chaos but surprisingly, it doesn’t. Maybe it’s the Dutch’s typical carefree, non stressed  attitude that make it work. It’s a bit overwhelming for the non-initiated but you quickly get used to it.

The final day, we hopped in the bus near the airport and were driven through tulips fields to Keukenhof. You can find a detailed review here. It was a lovely activity and I’m glad I spent a little more money than planned. Plus I got lovely pictures that make great desktops.

The ride home was smooth and uneventful, very calming. We didn’t feel like having a long meal at a restaurant, so instead we went to the grocery near our hotel and bought a few things. We sat along a canal, ate and laugh and enjoyed being where we were. To end our visit on a cliché note, we visited the Sex Museum. Not only is it hilarious, it’s actually interesting to see how today’s society really has no taboo when it comes to showing skin.

Erotic museum in Amsterdam

In overall, there are some true clichés about Amsterdam. Yes, there are canals everywhere. Yes, there are more bicyles than cars. But other than that… the prostitutes and the coffeeshops (at least the flashy ones) are located in a tiny area of the city. There is so much more to Amsterdam than what most people think of. Few cities offer such a charm, even with inhabitants not especially outgoing. And with so many flights to Amsterdam, there is no reason for your not to plan your own getaway.

As Amsterdam was only the second stop in our very own Eurotrip, I started to think about what was to come and if it were going to get any better than this. It did, sometimes, get close, but really, Amsterdam almost crowns my list of favorite places in Europe.

I let you guess what the first one is.

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8 Responses to “More Than Pot and Prostitutes in Amsterdam”

  1. Anonymous

    03. Jul, 2010

    Indeed, Amsterdam is one of the prettiest, most charming big city of Europe!

    Reply to this comment
  2. RonaldoC

    03. Jul, 2010

    Thanks for the report. Seems you did exactly what we always say to do in Amsterdam, walk, chill and not too much.

    Glad you enjoyed your first visit to Amsterdam without being run over ;-)

    Trip Advisor DE for Amsterdam

    Reply to this comment
  3. violette

    04. Jul, 2010

    I really liked Amsterdam. What a beautiful city. Like you said, it wasn’t all about drugs and prostitutes. I would love to go again.

    I went to Paris right after my trip to Amsterdam and I almost had a heart attack. It was a shock, Amsterdam being so peaceful (except maybe for the Red Light District), Paris seemed so noisy and agressive. The contrast was what striked me the most.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Marie

    11. Jul, 2010

    Thanks for your comments!

    I’m also glad I haven’t been run over, even though I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was doing.

    I just didn’t feel the need to stay in the Red Light District. It wasn’t interesting at all, apart from the fact that it’s just a must-do. It’s like going to Paris and not going on the Champs-Élysées: boring, yes, but unmissable.

    Next time I go to Amsterdam I won’t even bother to visit the District again - it just doesn’t have anything for me.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Veronique

    13. Dec, 2010

    I was quite surprised too with Amsterdam. The clichés are true but it is still pretty and fun. Quite expensive hotelwise/hostelwise though compared to other big european cities that we visited. My favorite part was going to Delft before flying back to the UK. Great town.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Peter Dudley

    31. Oct, 2011

    It’s one of my favourite cities in the world. I have been there twice and enjoyed the museums immensely.

    I have no interest in the Red Light District or the brown cafes, but there are so many other attractions that it is easy to ignore those that don’t interest you.

    I also enjoy the fact that you can get on a train and be on the coast in a matter of minutes – unlike central Canada!

    Reply to this comment

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