Sunday, February 28, 2010

Europe's Sin City - Amsterdam

Do you like history?  Do you like way cool architecture?  Do you like to smoke cannabis in public?  Do you like a high tolerance to sexuality?   Then perhaps Amsterdam is THE place to be...

First off, where is Amsterdam?  It's the capital of Netherlands and located in North Holland.   What are the Netherlands?   Netherlands is a country and this country has 12 Providences, two of which are "Holland" (North and South) which are in the central/west part of the Country of The Netherlands.   When people say "The Dutch" they really mean the inhabitants of the Country of "The Netherlands".  The Dutch, speak....DUTCH.  According to stats, over 70% of the Dutch people speak English pretty well.


The city was settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century.  Amsterdam was granted city rights in 1300 or 1306.  From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished.  Today the population of Amsterdam is around 1.4 million.   The climate of Amsterdam is very nice, in the winter months (snows every so often) it stays around 35 to 44 degrees and the summer temps rarely exceed the mid 70's.

* BONUS FACT:  Did you know Anne Frank's hideout house is located in Amsterdam?

Today you'll find really cool architecture dating back all the way to the 1500's including the oldest building, the Oude Kerk Church, was built in 1306 and still stands today.   There are many tours you can join to take in these fabulous spots, truly recommended.  Here's a link to a FREE walking tour!  Walking Tours

(Oude Kerk Church)

Now let's get to the REAL reason YOU want to go to Amsterdam.  The Red Light District.  This sinful little are will having you heading back to Oude Kerk quicker than you know it.  Filled with over 200 coffee shops where they also serve up weed, sex shops, brothels, peep shows, a cannabis and sex museum, sex theaters and other businesses to exploit yourself in.  In the 19th century, the term "red light" was associated with the red lanterns carried by railway workers (which they later left outside brothels when they entered).

Smoke shops - These shops have been a part of Amsterdam since just the 1970's but have been a big hit among locals and tourists.  (mainly tourists)   Around that time the Government of The Netherlands made 
a distinction between "soft" and "hard" drugs.  You can guess it..."soft" was allowed and "soft" included marijuana.  Under this law the coffee shops are allowed to sell customers up to 5 grams per person.  (must be 18 years old or older)  The law also states you can't sell the weed AND alcohol at the same establishment, hence the reason for the coffee shops.   Most of the shops are cool with you bringing your own weed but at least buy a cup of Joe out of courtesy.   Price for the smoke?  Around 15 Euro's for 3 grams which is around 4 rolled joints.  (15 Euro is about $21 bucks currently)

(sample menu at an actual smoke shop, click to enlarge)

What is "hash"?!?!?

Sex in the district - From brothels to sex shows to museums you get it all here in Amsterdam.  Prostitution in Holland and since 2000 window prostitutes have been legally allowed to flaunt their goods.  The sex happens around the clock but the most busy time seems to be around 11pm at night.  As you walk past buildings you'll have the ladies tapping on windows to get your attention.   These same ladies are tax payers and regulated by the Dutch Government, a solution to the worlds oldest profession I think other countries ought to consider.  Instead of criminalizing something that will occur anyway why not regulate it, protect people and make tax money off it?

(window ladies working it)

These window ladies charge a standard price, around 50 Euros (or $67 dollars) that'll give you about 20 mins of "fun" time.  If you want the ladies to be completely nude it might cost you more, surprised?    I found a pretty informative article about the pricing located here:  Prices.  

There are also sex clubs in the area.  Sex clubs are clubs where the girls work in a club type of environment.  Most of these places will charge you per the hour (from 75 Euro to 300 Euro) for a time with a nice lady.  You walk into the club, have a look around and when you pick the lady of your choice it's off to the races.  Think of them as American strip clubs but instead of 3 songs for $60 bucks it's much more. the math, 3 songs at 4 mins each is 12 mins for $60 compared to one hour for $200 it's actually cheaper - even if you didn't have sex!  Want to price out these places:  Club prices and places 

(Sex Club Elegance)

There are also sex shows where singles and couples go to watch a....well, a show!   These shows are different than sex clubs, the sex shows in Amsterdam are based around a bit of audience participation, but for the most part these are spectator sports.  Most people describe the experience as interesting or hilarious rather than “sexy”  

(Sex show theater, Casa Rosso)

 Casa Rosso is one of the most popular sex shows in Amsterdam and charges you 45 Euro for an hours show and 4 drinks to get you through it.   Want to check out their web site?  Sex Show Theater  If you want pics of the show, go there, I'm not about to go into the porno blogging biz.  :-D

BONUS FACT:   There are about 878 windows in the Red Light District.

So if you're sure you're ready to hit up Amsterdam do it quickly because the Government has been cracking down and changing laws to make this sinful city just a touch more conservative.   At the time of this blog the city is still up to it's old ways but you never know what might happen.

Where to stay?  Well, having never been there I had to take others advice.  I like hotels that are reasonably affordable, reviewed nicely and in great locations.   According to the user reviews over at The Black Tulip is the place to be.  Users ranked it #2 in choice out of 356 hotels in the area yet the room rates run $220 a night, not bad for Amsterdam!   Check the reviews here, Black Tulip.  If you do book it and don't like it, hey...don't blame me, blame the hundreds of reviewers.  :-D

(Black Tulip Hotel)

Einde - "The End" in Dutch


  1. Awesome post! I learned a lot.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Indeed, the 'sin' city! Amsterdam regulates normally illegal trades like drugs and prostitution. That makes it all the more attractive for tourists who wanted to try the extremes.

    Also, aside from that it has a rich culture which makes it an ideal place to travel. Social networking sites feature different spots and possible accommodations for this destination.

    Very interesting post. Thanks!


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