Amsterdam, synonym of liberal spirit
coffee shops, red light district and bicycles
Amsterdam is a lot more than coffee shops and forward thinking drug laws. For me it is one of Europe’s prettiest and most dynamic cities. It’s stuffed to the gills with culture, great food, great music and, of course, girls.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, and coffee shops are licensed to sell small amounts of marijuana. The sale of sex and drugs are regulated and taxed, ensuring as much safety as possible and that the government can benefit from the revenue. The Netherlands ranks 7th in the use of marijuana – after Cyprus, Spain, the UK, France, Germany and Italy.
The Dutch policy seems based on the idea that people are going to do what they are going to do, regardless of the government or the potential for punishment. “Research shows that young people in Amsterdam don’t use more soft drugs than their peers in France, which has a repressive drug policy.”
Police officers in the capital of the Netherlands are in open revolt against a new code of behavior that orders them to stop taking drugs in their free time. The new rules have upset officers who patrol the city’s infamous coffee shops, where cannabis is smoked openly by locals and millions of tourists attracted by Amsterdam’s relaxed atmosphere.
Hans van Duijn, the chairman of the Nederlandse Politie Bond, the police union, says “If you allow people in the country to smoke, you would be a hypocrite to say to the police officers, ‘You are not allowed to do that’.
Amsterdam to Shut 43 Cannabis Cafes
The cafes, known as coffee shops, have to be closed down by the end of 2011 because they are less than 250 meters from highschools. The city currently has some 228 outlets selling marijuana under license.
One of those set to vanish from Amsterdam is the famous Bulldog cafe on the city’s Leidseplein which is housed in a former police station and was opened over 20 years ago. It is too close to the city’s prestigious Barlaeus high school.
At present the authorities turn an official blind eye to the sale and consumption of cannabis but ban the large-scale cultivation of marijuana plants and the wholesale trade. This will make the sector easier to control and reduce the involvement of organized crime. Around 25 percent of tourists coming to Amsterdam visit a cannabis cafe. But these tourists cause much less of a nuisance than foreigners who drink alcohol, according to the mayor.
a Late Night Live Sex Show in Amsterdam’s Red Light District
One of the many legends about Amsterdam that some people have trouble believing is that there are theaters where patrons can pay for entrance and then witness actual live couples on stage having sex, as well as quite a few different-but-similar tricks involving bananas, pens, ribbons, vibrators, and whatnot.
The sex shows in Amsterdam are based around a bit of audience participation, but for the most part these are spectator sports. There are three of these live-sex theaters/bars in the Red Light District, and each is quite different so deciding which of the three to visit should be pretty easy for most people. And while these live-sex clubs are “shows” they aren’t really the same as strip clubs elsewhere. These places feature things that most people never thought they’d ever see in public.
Public sex in Asterdams Vondelpark
The most beautiful park in the center of Amsterdam has a colorful mixture of visitors, especially in the summer. Parents with children, inline skaters who display their tricks in front of the film museum, joggers, couples walking hand in hand and …
Paul van Grieken, an Alderman in the Oud-Zuid district of the city, has startled many Amsterdammers, despite their famously liberal attitudes, with plans to allow public sex as part of this summer’s new rules of conduct for the country’s best-known park.
As long as the condom’s are picked up and the people that want to have sex in the public only do it in the evening or night time, then according to new rules, it is fine and dandy to have sexual relations in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark.
These new rules not only have the blessing of the Dutch Police but they are also encouraging all Dutch parks to follow the Vondelpark’s lead.
Amsterdam Underground Collective
Once you could hear Underground Music only in Amsterdam or London. The underground music scene in Amsterdam is one of the main attractions from this creative metropolis. Most international bands played in some of the ‘famous’ clubs like Winston, Volta, and Zaal 100. For example the Volta used to be a cool hardcore-venue.
Those looking for a night out in a stylish, underground or lounge club should head to one of the numerous clubs that Amsterdam offers. Old factories, underground churches, refurbished boats and stylish canal houses; Amsterdam has got clubs in all of them. Go to one of the main squares like Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein or Dam square where you will find clubs for each kind of different subcultures.
Bicycles in Amsterdam
One of this city’s great pleasures is the cycling life. According to Wikipedia, there are about 700,000 bikes in Amsterdam, almost one bike per inhabitant. Bikes handle 40 percent of all trips inside the city limits. This makes Amsterdam unique among major urban centers in the developed world. Bikes and canals make this city quiet. With so little auto traffic, mostly what you hear is the whoosh of bike tires and an occasional warning bell.
Cycling is totally integrated into the Dutch urban transport mix. For the most part, cyclists get not only bike lanes, but actual bicycle roadbeds, separated from the sidewalk, the tram tracks, and the street by curbs or other physical barriers. Cyclists have their own, separate system of traffic lights, adorned with happy little green, yellow, and red bicycle icons. The basic warning device is a bell, but people don’t use them much — mainly just to warn the tourists, who are always stepping into the bike lane in order to get around other pedestrians, or just because it looks like a good place to walk.
This semi-separate roadway infrastructure makes a huge difference to the cycling experience. Mostly you’re riding with other cyclists, not competing with cars. Drivers here are much more respectful and careful of cyclists, probably because they’re all cyclists as well.