Amsterdam is most commonly known for its promiscuous red light district, drug fueled ‘coffee shops’ and unrestricted sex shops, sex shows and sex museums. However, these aspects, which seem to be ‘selling points’ for stag and hen parties, tend to mask Amsterdam’s distinct allure.
With its enchanting, dollhouse-like buildings, spectacular, scenic canals and overwhelming history, Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than the Red Light District and drugs.
I hang my backpacker head in shame and admit that I too, judged Amsterdam by its seedy, crimson cover. However, my underestimation of the city only made it that bit more remarkable when I arrived.
Its dark cobbled streets, weird and wonderful narrow buildings, picturesque, winding canals and crazy number of bikes, mean you can wander around Amsterdam for hours on end soaking up the city’s culture and many attractions, sometimes, without even spending a penny.
Despite the Red Light District, ‘coffee shops’, sex shops, sex shows and sex museums all contributing to the crude side of Amsterdam, there’s no reason not to venture into the red haze and check it out for yourself! Even if you’re not into that ‘kind of thing’, you will never see anything quite like the Red Light District or the ‘coffee shops’ in Amsterdam, so, investigate them for yourself – even if you do end up running away in shock. And don’t forget to explore the extensive amount of other sites Amsterdam has to offer!
Here are my pick of things to see and do whilst in The Dam:
Renting a bike in Amsterdam is just too cliché… be different and rent a ‘canal bike’ (a pedalo, to you and me)!
Although you run the risk of getting lost in the maze of canals and occasionally stuck on other boats, there is no better way to see this majestic city than by bobbing down the canal on your very own pedal boat.
Add a barrel of cheese and a bottle of Amsterdam’s finest wine… ‘fat bastard’ (I’m so glad I’ve managed to get that in) and you’ve got yourself a marvelous and unforgettable day out!
Go to the Anne Frank museum
The history of The Netherlands is heart-wrenching. However, it is paramount that people learn about what the Nazis did during WWII and pay their respects to those who died during this devastating period of time.
The Anne Frank museum provides an emotionally moving walk through the house where the Frank family sought refuge from the Nazis in 1942. Inside the museum you can find manuscripts of Anne’s original diary, video footage, historic timelines and images, making it no surprise that the experience brings a tear to the eye.
Nevertheless, you can’t leave the city without visiting it!
It is an independent, non-profit organisation. Therefore, all costs go towards preserving the building as well as creating awareness of Anne’s life story and the danger of anti-Semitism.
Tickets are approximately €9.
Enjoy the other kind of porn Amsterdam has to offer – cheese porn…
Because there is no better porn…
Visit the Amsterdam sign
You can find this iconic I amsterdam sign at the back of Rijksmuseum on Museumplein and at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. There is also a travelling sign, which pops up at fashion shows, fairs and festivals etc. throughout the city.
Whichever sign you end up at, get creative, choose a letter and capture your obligatory ‘I went to Amsterdam’ photo (as you can see in the feature image for this post, I was pretty much sliding off of the letter ‘e’).
Walk, walk, walk
Walk around the shops, down the cobbled side streets, beside the canal, through the museums, across the bridges, into the crepe /ice-cream stalls… walk until your heart’s content!
This way, you will get to see soooo much of the city whilst also unearthing some fab places you wouldn’t have usually come across.
Sit in a big clog
Because… why not?