Red Light district, Coffee shops, Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House are just some of the highlights of Amsterdam. What an amazing place with so much history and stuff to see. It was my 3rd trip to the Netherlands and for sure not my last. Some of the must stop places to visit I wanted to share with you when you are ready to to get some culture.
The Red Light district is an attraction to witness especially because it is shrinking rapidly. Yes the oldest business known to man prostitution is no longer one of those attractions Amsterdam is proud of. I remember the last time I was there the canals where filled with red lights in the windows which meant there was a girl you could choose from. Its something to witness as thousands of passerby’s stare into the windowed doors with curtains and red lights. Some of the girls are reading books, doing their nails, dancing and even soliciting people walking by. I find it amusing that if the red light is on and the curtain is closed they’re busy. It’s window shopping in its human form. Just be careful cause some of the items in the window look like men in wigs! Because Amsterdam is so rich in history and museums and more of a family place the red light district is going away and that too will become a bit of history.
As the Red Light district gets smaller so does the coffee shop business. The Marijuana shops or coffee shops got its name cause you couldn’t call it a marijuana shop, plus they can’t serve alcohol so coffee shop won. There used to be over 200 licensed shops just 10 years ago but you don’t see as many now. They still are very popular and very crowded mostly with young europeans on holiday who can’t get it so freely in their countries. I must admit the vibe is very laid back, cool and a great place to people watch. You see everyone from business men to older 60 year old ladies getting together to talk story and have some pakalolo.
If it’s History you want there is a ton to offer. Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Anne Franks House, The Heineken factory, Kettle Vodka factory and event the wind mills is a must see. A week in Amsterdam will keep you busy if you are into art and history. The city is pretty easy to get around with public transportation and millions of bikes. Yes these guys love their bikes and they are not afraid to run you over. Bikes rule Amsterdam and this can be very dangerous for foreigners. There is a car lane, tram lane and yes a bike lane. You can rent them everywhere but just be careful and wear a helmet!
There are many great hotels and also some really nice Bed and Breakfast lofts you can rent. Go for something close to the center of the city square because the many canals and narrow streets can get you lost. If you’re headed anywhere in Europe make your flight connect from Amsterdam and check it out I think you will love it!