Amsterdam for twenty somethings?

Old Jul 16th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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Amsterdam for twenty somethings?

My son will be spending almost a week in Amsterdam prior to his contiki tour with some friends from university...need I worry? I wasn't born yesterday and do get what it is all about...tons of kids go to Europe and backpack, etc....tell me your experiences so I don't lose sleep...or maybe I will!
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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Honestly, worrying doesn't do anything. It all depends on how well you know your son and how much you trust his judgment. If he doesn't do drugs at home, then you shouldn't worry that he'll do it in Amsterdam just because it's legal.

It is common knowledge that there are plenty of brown cafes that legally serve the best quality smoke that will bring a new meaning to transcendental experience. One stupid thing he must absolutely avoid is carrying any of it across the border to other European countries because that's when he can get in trouble with the law.

I spent some time as a teenager in Amsterdam and never once did I patronize the brown cafes. We did some partying with alcohol because that's what we did in the states. There were clumps of foreign youths who hanged out in Amsterdam for the drugs, but it was very clear that it was something that they did for fun back in their home countries to begin with.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 09:07 PM
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Just reread your title. You're worried about your twenty something son ??? We didn't even worry about our teenage daughter going there with her peers.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 09:57 PM
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No you don't need to worry. Your son is twenty something, he is sensible, you brought him up well. Relax. untie the apron strings. He will enjoy Amsterdam and do what he wants to whether you are at home worrying about it or not.
My son moved to Amsterdam when he was 18 to share a flat with a friend. Was I happy? not really, but I knew that worrying wouldn't change things. I didn't ask what he got up to. He survived, I survived.
And the herbal items DAX mentions are sold in coffeeshops not brown cafes.
But the chances are he won't even bother with them.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 02:29 AM
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Actually, I know he will frequent coffeeshops somewhat but at 22 how do you know what you can control? I also know that, for some, Europe between university and the working life is almost a rite of passage. Being from a strict European background I toy with what should be allowed and what should not. You are right..I should let it be.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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horatio, just give him one word of advice - don't try paddo (magic mushrooms). These are sold in Smart shops and there have been several disturbing and sad cases in Amsterdam lately involvong young foreigenrs and paddo use.
He may find that he really doesn't like the herbs in coffeeshops. My youngest son went once. Hated it and never tried again.
Relax and let him go. You worrying will not change a thing he does, and only make you unhappy. It is as you say a rite of passage for him. I'm sure he will have a great time.
Why not book yourself a few days away while he is gone and enjoy yourself too?
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 03:16 AM
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That was interesting about the paddo, and a good warning. With a quick search, I found this Lonely Planet thread:
http://tinyurl.com/2tsvbl

In 2005, I saw numerous groups of young Asian travelers (some of whom were definitely Japanese, but I'm not sure about everyone), who were sitting outside coffeeshops giggling away. I could not help wonder if their parents had paid for their trips knowing where their children would end up going!
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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I am a substance abuse counselor and a mother. I understand your concerns. BUT...

When my daughter and I visited A'dam in 2005, we passed a lot of "yellow cafes" (brown ones have walls stained by cigarette smoke). Not once did I spot anyone out of control...like I did in Las Vegas in 2006.

You are in one of the toughest phases of parenting: Letting Go. Try Letting go and Letting God. Worry does not accomplish anything positive. It just lowers your immune system and puts wrinkles on your face!

Take care,
sal
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 04:24 AM
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It will show how mature your son is or not.
He doesnot need to go to Amsterdam to get drunk or not, to use hash or not, to walk through the redlight district ..If needed he will find it anywhere.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 04:48 AM
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Good grief, at 22 it is definitely time to let go of control! (you'll never let go of worry, it's our job )

He'll have a great time. He'll get stoned. He'll wander round the red light district but he may or may not go use a prostitute. I'd assume that he knows about safe sex but if he doesn't then a lecture from mom/dad now is probably too late anyway. Lots of people have a good and very safe time in Amsterdam. The people there are generally pretty nice and as long as he doesn't suddenly develop - out of the blue and against his normal personality, so unlikely - a curiosity for the seedier side of life (heroin etc) he'll be fine.

Just warn him that the stuff there is a hell of a lot stronger than you usually get elsewhere, so take it slowly as it will creep up on him. Space cakes are good but don't scoff the whole thing in one go - take your time if you don't want to end up just falling asleep.

Tolerance applies to cafes and your hotel room (possibly) only. Don't smoke on the streets. Don't be overly stoned/drunk around all the people trying to get through their working day, they won't appreciate it, and they will let you know that.

The fries with mayonnaisse are good!

There are loads of good clubs/music/comedy etc and he can pick up flyers all over the place. Also lots of great museums and galleries for the daytime, so do spend some time doing the tourist sights.
'The old Church' on the edge of the red-light district is fantastic and you can climb the tower (bit scary) for the most wonderful view over the city.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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Show him this:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic...d_Holland.html
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Many moons ago I visited 'The Dam' to celebrate a friend's 21st birthday.

After the initial first-night fascination of being able to smoke weed openly, the novelty wore off very quickly and we spent the rest of the time exploring and discovering what is now one of my favourite cities.

We found the red-light district so depressing that we would walk 'round it, rather than through it, any time we were in the vicinity, but for obvious reasons, not everyone feels the same way we did.

If your son's got his head screwed on straight, he'll be fine, if not, he'll just get up to the same stuff he does at home. Either way, it'll be an (possibly) unforgettable experience.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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<He may find that he really doesn't like the herbs in coffeeshops. My youngest son went once. Hated it and never tried again.>

well i guess there is a one in a million.

My son grew up in France and he and his buddies regularly drove to Amsterdam just to sit in coffeeshops and take magic mushrooms, like thousands of other European youths.

Mushrooms in themselves i think are not the problem - if your son is prone to depression and mental problems no he should stay away.

None of my son's friends seem to have experienced any problems and there is no doubt some justification they are legally sold. Just be sure he's of average mind and then he may well have, like scores of now famous folk before him, the cerebral experience of his life. Of course he shold start slow and be with friends - few folks may have bad trips but not from the shrooms i think unless they overdose if that is possible. Sensible can yield a fantastic experience. Well that's my opinion - a few bad experiences get all the headlines but the many mellow trips do not. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
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Old Jul 17th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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<He may find that he really doesn't like the herbs in coffeeshops. My youngest son went once. Hated it and never tried again.>

Actually that's not all that uncommon i understand in Holland and proves that legalizing pot will not necessarily increase the use that much - especially since in most countries anyone can get it illegally anyway.

EuroStat statistics i believe show that France has the highest incidence of high school age cannabis use - and they also have some of the most strict laws against it. Holland i believe is much lower even though pot in sanctioned by the government, who tolerates its sale and use inside coffeeshops.

So my one in a million comment was unwarranted and i think that many apparently don't succomb to Reefer Madness is a reason for legalizing a substance not nearly as destructive as alcohol or tobacco, which are also Dutch favorites.
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Old Jul 19th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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Boy..I have been away a couple of days...you are all so helpful. I was beginning to thinkI was a terrible mother allowing this to happen. All your advice I will definitely pass onto him. Take care.
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