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Old Oct 9th, 1997, 09:03 PM
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We're planning a holiday to Europe next June/July and want to know whether it is worth going out of our way to visit Amsterdam for a good time! is 'everything' as legal and accessible as we are led to believe. Is Dam Square the centre of the city's activities and should we book a hotel as near as possible?
Old Oct 9th, 1997, 11:08 PM
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Yes, Amsterdam seems to be keeping up with its reputation in a part of the town next to the Dam (town center). I think it was a policy from the Dutch authorities to have crazy things going on in one particular area to better keep it under control, if I may say so.
Anyway, you still have to remain careful but enjoy your trip as this town is a great one in terms of atmosphere, nice buildings and friendly people.
Old Oct 10th, 1997, 05:09 AM
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Amsterdam is a unique city in that the Red Light District has its full share of hash bars, legalized prostitutes, porn shows, etc. yet it has two of the best museums I've been to in Europe (Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum). Vondel Park is also very nice. Dam Square is fine to stay but you might also look at some of the hotels along the main canals such as Princesgraat (also called canal houses). These are 300-400 year old houses overlooking a canal (Amsterdam has more than Venice) with exposed beams in the Dutch tradition. Arthur Frommer lists some and they're not too expensive. If you're looking to party in town, the Red Light District is o.k. but be careful. The Leidesplein area has some fun bars and good music clubs. Also, if you're going to buy anything (i.e. stuff that's illegal here), make certain you do so at a cafe and not on the street. There are cafes away from the Disrict (near the train station and Leidesplein) that will accommodate you. I've been to Amsterdam four times and find it one of the more affordable cities in Europe and the Dutch are probably the nicest and friendliest people you'll meet. Enjoy it.
Old Oct 10th, 1997, 06:09 AM
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On a scale of 1- 10 (ten best), I'll give it a 7 or 8. Amsterdam is indeed a unique city. You should probably allow for 1 - 1/2 days to see it sufficiently. The canals obviously make it unique. (On that note, consider seeing Brugge in Belgium - it's a beautiful city w/ canals as well). I didn't care much for the city center area - as compared to other comparable city centers (e.g., Munich, Vienna). On a museum note, other than the art museumes cited above, not much exists. The red light district is unique and is worth a walk thru in daylight. Beware, open market drug use is evident in certain places near this area. You could easily find yourself walking past an alleyway clogged with people shooting-up (my worst European memory by far).
Old Oct 18th, 1997, 12:14 PM
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Yes. "Anything goes" in Amsterdam.
Old Oct 18th, 1997, 06:54 PM
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We were in Amsterdam last year and found it to be a beautiful, friendly and culturally interesting place. We stayed in the Univ area in a quite nice hotel - Tulip Inn. It is a lower price version of the Golden Tulip Hotels. It was quite nice-it is pretty new, nicely furnished, very clean, and in a good area. The KLM bus stops in front of the hotel. We had a king size room which was about $115 a nite. Breakfast was great! I highly recommend it as it was covenient to everything. THere is even a "cafe" within a block of it, as well as other restuarants etc. My advice too is only go to the cafes-no on street purchasing. THe red light district is a trip-quite interesting to visit! There is something for everyone in Amsterdam! THe museums are fantastic-Van Gogh, Rijks and the Rembrandt House is a lovely addition to your agenda. The Anne Frank House is a must, if you have any interest in the Holocaust and then eat at the Pancake Bakery about 2 blocks away. We really enjoyed the Heineken Brewery-and there is unlimited beer following the tour. I could go on forever, however I concur with one of the other respondents that Amst.is people friendly and reasonably priced. I wouuld very much like to return! Enjoy it! SF
Old Oct 19th, 1997, 07:30 PM
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Was researching a question on a war memorial in the Netherlands and came across a link regarding hash/marijuana coffeehouses etc. Didn't write it down or anything but found it in the EXCITE search engine by typing in "travel in Netherlands". Also have a book by Ron Charles, Holland Guide, which says you get better quality/lower costs in the smaller cities surrounding Amersterdam, plus a nicer clientele. We have family in Holland and my brothers sons took my daughter out Pubbing. They didn't come home tell the wee hours, so I went looking for her at 2:00 a.m.. Of course, I'm thinking USA, guns, rape, robbery, the worst! When I found them, it was so safe and nice of an atmosphere I let her stay longer-- she fell in love with it. Had her first Beer! We went where few Americans go and the guys love American girls.(especialy if you have brown eyes) If you like 6' tall, drop dead gorgeous, blond hair, blue eyes thats all that is there. Our special place is called Terschelling. Its an island, one of four, in the North Sea about 20 miles off the coast. All of the German/Dutch teens-college age go there in July/August. Party months. You will be safe, yet have a ball. My daughter says to go out to Appelhof for a fun fun time and you will find more than beer. Bikes are king, the autos respect their party time, kids walk or take taxis to the hostels/pubs. They sing and wave and you can walk around at 3:00 a.m. and know you won't die! If interested e mail me and I'll tell you how to take the ferry over etc! When you see 2-300 teens on a ferry gaily waving and singing as they get off the boat, then again as they bicycle to their campground its amazing. A true site! Its innocence rolled in with (whats the word I'm looking for??) Maybe like America in the 50's with a twist!
Old Oct 20th, 1997, 12:14 AM
Greg Reiss
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I tried to post the following earlier today and Fodors was f**ked up so I couldn't and I see someone above finally understood a BIT of what the women posting the question at the beginning were after. Here's what I was going to say; It seems the last few posters here did not read the original message......these two females are NOT interested in Amsterdam's culture or sights......they want DRUGS.
Read the post people!! These women are not going to Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank House or museums, they want to know where they can easily score street drugs. Quit being such Pollyanna's and see what the reality here is!

Yes, heroin IS legal in Amsterdam and yes junkies are all over the Dam area. I'm sure you young women will score some smack there. That's the answer I'm sure you're searching for in your quite clear original question.
Old Oct 20th, 1997, 06:47 AM
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Greg, thanks for your pompous, enlightening reply.
Do us all a big favor and try not to post replies when you're up late at night. Your obnoxiousness and rudeness has shown thru quite brightly. Get some sleep and more improtantly, get a life! Don't get so upset about postings!
Old Oct 20th, 1997, 08:28 PM
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READ the post Bill!!!!!

Author: WENDY and PATTI (wsulliv[email protected])
Date: 10/10/1997 1:03 am

Message: We're planning a holiday to Europe next June/July and want to know whether it is worth going out of our way to visit Amsterdam for a good time! is 'everything' as legal and accessible as we are led to believe. Is Dam Square the centre of the city's activities and should we book a hotel as near as possible?
Old Oct 21st, 1997, 11:55 AM
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Dear Wendi and Patti, What a rucus you have caused. So let us know what you think. My famiy lives in Holland, they asked us if we liked Amsterdam and we said not all of it. Why? They asked. We told them. And they wrinkled their brows and said drugs are not legal here (Holland). You will be arrested if you are found using them., And they are very very tough on drinking and driving. I had one beer and they made me walk 2 miles home. Couldn't even ride my bike so the next night I refused to drink, saying I'd rather ride my bike home! They couldn't believe it. So in the end its up to you and what you are looking for. Be safe, take care! And Greg, Heroin is not legal.
Old Oct 23rd, 1997, 09:40 AM
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Some drugs are indeed legal in the Netherlands --
cannibis-based products (marijuana and hashish)
ARE legally sold in cafes regulated for this
purpose. There are some restrictions but it is
entirely legal (i.e., can't sell to minors, amt.
sold limited -- to 5 grams, I think). Also, it
is not illegal to use drugs in the Netherlands --
it is the drug trafficking/possession that is
illegal and what the Dutch authorities spend their
time & energy on, rather than on arresting casual
users. There is a serious illegal hard drug trade
in the Netherlands, a lot of it coming from
Turkey (opiates). So, while it is true that heroin
and other hard drugs are not "legal" in Amsterdam
(except in methadone clinics, etc.), the odds of
someone getting arrested merely for casual use,
rather than selling, are slim to none.
As for Wendy & friend -- they are a couple of
twits regardless of what kind of drugs they are
looking to score (I don't care myself, but how
pathetic is it to plan your European vacation
around this and post questions on travel BBs
about it?). Bill S is also a dope who appears
pretty clueless.
Old Oct 23rd, 1997, 10:17 AM
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Juliet, Couldn't have said it better myself- I am hoping these girls are just looking for what I saw on Tershcelling- a lot of fun and merriment, beer drinking and pot smoking-Thats it.
Old Oct 29th, 1997, 06:59 AM
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I was born and raised in Amsterdam and I am really sick and tired of all the tourists that come to Amsterdam only to smoke a joint. Indeed, there exist coffeeshops where you can buy soft drugs but they are NOT legal, they are as we call it "gedoogd", which means they are open but have no rights and can be closed when the mayor pleases to do so. In these coffeshops you will find tourists, hardly any locals, that are too stoned to really enjoy Amsterdam. About hard drugs, I can assure you that it is the same anywhere else (Berlin, New York, Paris, Miami etc) Amsterdam has the reputation of drugs capitol but is it really to find some hasj in Paris? But what am I doing? I do not want to discuss the drugs issue when there are so many (really) interesting things to see and do in Amsterdam. Examples are the Jordaan, a lovely neighbourhood with canals, little shops, the Anne Frank House, markets etc or the museums or the old buildings or the indonesian restaurant and I could go on forever. Just visit Amsterdam and see for yourself (this is probably easier when you are not stoned !)
Old Oct 29th, 1997, 09:33 PM
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I think I must rise to the defense of the oppressed who make up these troublesome folk who come to The Netherlands to get high even semi-legally. Some of the respondents feel that it is meritricious to go to Amsterdam to have a joint in a coffeehouse. Perhaps it is, but no more so than many other human pursuits, like looking at scenery. For those of us who have had the misfortune of growing up in a society of hypocrisy, just being able to openly enjoy something we have long been doing furitively and in secret is a nice and novel experience. I am going to Amsterdam in November, and though I look forward to many aspects of the trip, seeing the museums and the life of the city, it's no small thing to be able to enjoy some grass without having to look out for the police or "concerned citizens" as I do so. For those of you for whom this is incomprehensible, try to imagine that it's beer or coffee or chocolate or whatever form of drug you enjoy that is illegal, and how you'd feel being able to have a cup of coffee in a cafe instead of in your house with incense burning, or in a car watching for the police. And for those of you who absolutely do not alter their consciousness in any way, just try to have some understanding for those of us not so exhalted in our Tao. Anyway, try not to be so judgmental. People like to have fun, like to alter their heads. Don't know why, but it's been going on everywhere since the dawn of history, and surely long before.
Old Oct 30th, 1997, 03:05 PM
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Cain -- I think your statements are extremely
misleading. It would appear that you're a
juvenile who lives with your parents or you
would not need to be burning incense or sneaking
off in cars to smoke a joint. Many people smoke
joints in the U.S. in their homes without "being on
the lookout for the police" or "concerned citizens."
I know plenty of them and they don't sit around
being paranoid like you apparently are (BTW, if
you really are a paranoid personality, it might
be wise for you to lay off the marijuana -- I'm
not kidding, it can make it worse).
If you're sitting in your own house, where are
these police and citizens?? Furthermore, I still
think it's absurd to plan a vacation around this
as you can do it in the U.S. (at least, if you're
an adult) -- in many states, even if caught with
marijuana, the penalty is nothing more severe
then the equivalency of a parking ticket
(assuming it's a small amount). If you are so
interested in smoking joints without your
parents finding out, why don't you just go to
one of these states in the U.S. instead of all
the way to Europe? It would be a lot cheaper.
As one example, my sister lives in New Hampshire,
and I think they have a new law there that
goes into effect on 1/1/98 which reduces the
penalty of possession of less than 1-1/2 oz. of
marijuana from a misdemeanor to only a violation.
I believe the girls who asked about this were
Australian, however, and I don't know what their
laws are.
Old Nov 12th, 1997, 06:42 AM
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Travel, people. This is a travel bb. Let's talk travel and those of you who need further help can contact the Betty Ford Chat Room or a good local AA/NA chapter.
Old Nov 12th, 1997, 11:24 AM
joe cameron
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Well, the discussion about Amst. certainly was interesting. Here's perhaps a slightly different perspective, for what it's worth: I live in DC - and it's no secret we're known for both positive and negative things. But I'd really hate for someone to plan to visit my city just to do something that's illegal or frowned upon at home. We raised our kids here and we live here. This city is a home for many of us, not some type of playground to folks on sidetrips. I really enjoyed the legalistic minutae about buying in a cafe vs. on the street - like that's really the point. Have a nice trip, guys, and don't get busted. But PLEASE, skip DC until you've grown up a bit. We already have more than our share of problems. We do value our tourists (the ones who come for the positive things we offer).
Old Nov 14th, 1997, 09:35 PM
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The information stated above relative to New Hampshire is not correct. So, you had better try Amsterdam.
Old Nov 29th, 1997, 08:11 AM
fellow traveler
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Hey girls--just got back from 8 days in Amsterdam. I would definitely recommend visiting. It's a beautiful city and there is nothing more fun than hitting a smoking coffeeshop (over 200 to choose from, we visited about 12) and going to the museums, taking a canal tour or walking around endlessly until to get lost (takes about 10 min to get lost since even the alleys are called streets and the names change every block or once a cross street or canal is reached (i.e., every block!). You can buy small (dfl 10, or american $5). 1 gram or more (up to 5g per person--but then you can't try as many!) bags of marijuana and lumps of hash and spacecake/space brownies. We had them all, as well as great beers (Belgian are better than Dutch), an interesting Dutch liquor called "jenever" (like gin kind of) and great food (non-Dutch food that is! Dutch food is good/substantial but not exactly haute cuisine! Indonesian "rijstaffel" is great). We didn't come across anyone selling/doing heroin but we weren't looking. People try to sell you cocaine on the street. Again, not our thing but we were repeatedly warned to stay away from anyone selling drugs on the street because it's probably big rip-off. Saw the ladies display themselves in the red light district. Sociologically interesting but not our thing. So go out of your way, see this great city. The "Leidseplein" seems to be more of the center of food and shopping. Dam square is a bit more upscale and closer to the (typically) smarmy central station. Even though the city is confusing at first, it's still super small to walk around so staying anywhere, you'll still be close to everything. If you're going to a hostel, I'd recommend the "flying pig". One is in the red light district near lot's of stuff and one is on a quiet street across from a great park (The vondel park) and a 2min. walk from the Leidseplein and everything else. Everyone there looked like they were having fun. So have a great trip--I don't know how you aussies can stand the plane rides (ours was 8 hrs and felt like a day!) but I guess you have no choice. Have fun!

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