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marianne Amsterdam - A travel report by Marianne
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Amsterdam,  Netherlands - flag Netherlands -  Noord-Holland
11516 readers

marianne's travel reports

Amsterdam: Bicycles, Coffeeshops and More

  26 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Amsterdam famous for its liberal drugs policy and canals is Europe's smallest capital city with less than one million residents.

No language problems because everybody speaks English from the coffeeshop owner to the tram conductor.

Bicycles galore
Bicycles galore
Getting there

Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, is Europe's main transport hub. Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2, Transavia, Virgin Express are some of the low-cost airlines that serve it. Flights are dirt cheap if booked in advance. Schiphol is only a fifteen-minute train ride away from Amsterdam Central Station.

The Eurolines Bus is another low budget option. It runs to and from Amsterdam to Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin and many more European cities. It drops you off at The Amstel Station in Amsterdam. There is a metro connection from Amstel to Central Station.

Getting around

Trams are inexpensive and take you to most places in the city centre quickly and conveniently. You can pay your fare on the tram, or, better still, buy a strippenkaart. They are sold wherever you see tobacco for sale.

Visit the VVV-Office (Tourist Information Office) near the Centraal Station, to get a free map. This is also the place to buy tram tickets and museum tickets, saves you queuing up

Favourite spots:
Amsterdam travelogue picture
The best way to see the city at leisure is on board of one of Amsterdam's famous canal boats. During the one-hour tour you will see the smallest house, typically Dutch gables, Skinny Bridge (an old fashioned drawbridge) and Amsterdam Docks.

If you want a more strenuous tour, do like the Dutch and rent a bike. Pedal away on the relatively safe pink cycle paths. But don't forget to lock and chain you bike to a lamp post or bridge railing as 80,000 bicycles are stolen every year.

Rent a bike
Centraal Stations (train station). Price € 2,75 (for 20 hours).

MacBike at Leidseplein and rents bikes at € 4,25 (per day).

If all this is too strenuous take a stroll in Vondelpark, a public park with meandering walkways and paved paths for bikers and skaters. It is a popular place where young Amsterdammers and tourists laze away sunny afternoons.

What's really great:
A bit of 'window shopping in the Red Light District is a unique experience. The oldest profession is openly displayed and a thriving business. Prostitutes are self-employed and pay tax like any one else. They hire a window and set their own price. So it is worth shopping around.

Coffeeshops - Amsterdam's number one attraction are places that usually don't sell coffee, but specialise in mind enhancing products. As advertising marihuana is not allowed, you will have to ask for the menu, which shows a variety of weed and hash. Prices range from €5 to €15 per gram. The Dutch usually mix weed with tobacco and smoke their joints in the coffeeshops.

Hemp Museum
Hemp Museum

The Erotic Museum boasts five floors of erotic and real art. Booths on the top floor allow you to listen to sex in six different languages.

The Sex Museum is very popular but be prepared for long queues. Exhibits range from china figurines to life-size mannequins of pimps and prostitutes. If the gallery of uncommon sexual desires is not eccentric enough, you can sit on one of the huge penis chairs which vibrate every minute.

The Hash Marijuana Hemp Museum is quite dull compared to the other two and rather educational as expert staff take you down to their grow room and explain to you how to grow your own weed.

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark has it all. A posh neighbourhood but an inexpensive place to stay.

If this is too low key you can sleep in style at a fair price in Amsterdam Botel, a boat transformed into a hotel. It is conveniently close to Central station, Dam and the city centre.

The ultimate is a stay in Hemp Hotel is a true experience. Hemp is the overall theme. You sleep on a hemp futon, the sheets are made of hemp, the bar serves hemp beer, hemp lollies, and hemp ice- cream. It is a place where you can smoke a joint at leisure.

Weed Plant
Weed Plant
Check out de Melkweg a multimedia centre with live-music, theatre, cinema, special events and parties, or Paradiso Pop Centre, which used to be a church and is famous for its acoustics.

Weed growing
Weed growing
The Bulldog was the first coffeeshop to open 25 years ago. Now it mostly visited by tourists. Inside it looks very ‘ordinary’. It is divided into three parts, a souvenir shop, a coffeebar with comfortable seating, and internet access, and downstairs the videotheek and screen. The Bulldog is a chain of coffeeshops.

It is a misconception to think that possession of soft drugs is legal. They are decriminalised, and that's all. Every person over eighteen is allowed (tolerated to be more precise) to possess thirty grams of soft drugs. A coffeeshop can stock five hundred grams of weed and can sell five grams to one person per day. One hundred customers and the owner needs to replenish his stock. Selling is decriminalised but storing is illegal. So if the coffeeshop owner wants to stock up he has to do sixteen runs to his supplier, because if he has more than thirty grams on him and is caught, the stuff is confiscated and he is fined €1000.

Don’t forget about the patat (french fries) stands found throughout the city. The fries are hot and crispy outside and moist inside, you can have your selection of sauces. Mayonnaise is the Dutch favourite, but peanut or curry sauce topped with raw onions are equally popular.

If you are brave enough you can try herring. Yes! They are raw. Eat them the Dutch way: take the tail between your forefinger and thumb, tilt your head back and directly lower the fish into your mouth.

If you don’t fancy ‘patat’ ask for uitsmijter, (slightly difficult to pronounce, but remember (almost) everybody speaks English). Uitsmijter is: two slices of bread, topped with ham and two, or three fried eggs.

Other recommendations:
Getting there

Getting around




Unusual souvenirs

Hip Travel



Practical Guide to Amsterdam

Published on Friday December 9th, 2005

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Mon, Mar 05 2007 - 05:33 PM rating by mink_risa

Informative report!!! I'm going to try herring. Hope it tastes like sasemi (raw japanese fish). I usually eat sasemi with wasabi and soy sauce. I'm not sure I can stand the herring without sauce. Let's see....

Thu, Dec 29 2005 - 07:55 PM rating by britman

Brilliant report - really is Amsterdam in a Nutshell! Professional writing with superb photographic content!

Tue, Dec 27 2005 - 02:11 PM rating by eirekay

Love the heading "Weird Museums"! Great practical guide to a terrific city!

Fri, Dec 16 2005 - 05:01 AM rating by worldcitizen

Hi Marianne!
I really enjoyed reading your report. It was short and straight to the point. Before I visit Amsterdam again next April I think I will use all of your links to get the necessary information!

Thu, Dec 15 2005 - 06:11 AM rating by lukasdj

Hi Marianne,

a plain and tidy report, a good starting point to live the city. I like your idea to photograph interior of buildings.

Mon, Dec 12 2005 - 08:57 AM rating by gloriajames

hiya Marianne!
i love your style of reporting! wonderful and unique and a pleasure to read. though i think u can add more pics to your report.

Sun, Dec 11 2005 - 06:37 PM rating by delfster

hi marriane,
i like your report... at least i know that my coffee addiction will find its place if i go to amsterdam. and thanks for sharing sighting informations, and the links also. look forward to see some more reports. cheers, and warm greeting from indonesia.


Sun, Dec 11 2005 - 09:54 AM rating by christianj.

Hi Marianne!

Hey, that must be more or less 20 years ago, when I visited Amsterdam the last time. After reading your report, I resolve to do it again in 2006!!

Thank you for sharing all these clearly arranged (I really like that) informations - they'll be helpful for more than one visit...

Warm regards, Christian

Fri, Dec 09 2005 - 05:51 PM rating by rangutan

Interesting fresh layout, top inside information :-)
The many links will deflect viewers from GLOBO yet informative and better at the end than within the other paragraphs.
I like the idea of highlighting local "key" words.
Staff should fix the Euro symbol now!

Fri, Dec 09 2005 - 05:30 PM rating by akhila

Unique report.

Fri, Dec 09 2005 - 04:54 PM rating by bootlegga

This is written in a very interesting format with plenty of info. I would have preferred more personal experiences, but you still get high marks for breaking new ground. Great job!

Fri, Dec 09 2005 - 02:50 PM rating by davidx

Refreshingly different. I might give a umber of things here a miss but it's a great report, full of information.

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