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Amsterdam Holland travel tips

Independent travel tips for the professional at Leisure

October 2008

 

 

WIP - Not ready for publication

 

Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a Venice of the north, full of friendly and laid back people.

 

 

 

 

Inside Amsterdam social customs

 

The first difference that an American notices with the Dutch people is their economic incentives.  The Netherlands has a progressive tax whereby highly-paid professionals can pay as much as ten times m ore for essential services( e.g. day care) than their blue collar neighbors.  Holland is a tax-heavy nation to the point where it might almost be considered socialist.
 

Also see: Groningen Holland travel tips

 

The extreme taxes (57% of upper income, over 40% on cars) are intended to balance the real standard of living between the rich and poor. But the Dutch are very thrifty, as seen by their bizarre European crappers.

 

An Amsterdam Crapper with stingy and liberal flush
 


This semi-socialism has the benefit of making the Dutch not worry about losing their jobs, but it acts as a disincentive for achievement. We visited a business associate who explained that their professional family (a physician and a computer professional) earning over 200,000 Euros per year had approximately the same disposable income as their blue-collar neighbors. They pay 10x more than their blue-collar neighbors for day care since it is based on the ability to pay and when combined with their ultra liberal taxation, they have absolutely no incentive to achieve. In fact, many give up high stress, high paying jobs because their super-low disposable income differential.

Back in the 1600’s, Amsterdam was the superpower, leading the world in trade and commerce. This trade-oriented mindset continues today, as every Dutch person is taught English in school.

 

In addition to the hoards of well-dressed professionals, Amsterdam is full of every conceivable type of person, fruits, nuts, hippies, weirdo’s and every ethnic group imaginable, with large numbers of Islamic fundamentalists in Burka's.

 


By Dutch cartoonist DeWitt of “Sigmund” Fame

 

One way to see inside the Netherworld of the Netherlands culture is to look at their cartoons.  One that caught my eye was “Sigmund”, all about a Dutch shrink with a dark view of the world.


    By Dutch cartoonist  DeWitt of “Sigmund” Fame

 

The seedy side of Amsterdam

We absolutely loved Amsterdam, one of the prettiest cities in the world, full of friendly people.  In the Netherlands they have tours of the seedy side of Amsterdam, and Janet and I took a tour of the “Red Light” district and the notorious coffee houses to see the seedy side.

The red light tour included a visit with a skanky retired whore who told us about her profession and how the bidding system works in Amsterdam.   She said that enforcement of the hooker testing law was not well enforced and from looking at the sluts I got the distinct impression that have any interaction with them was inviting the “Ria’s” (Gonorrhea, Pyorrhea, Diarrhea . . ).

Not much is "wrong" in Amsterdam

Ewww . . .

   
The Amsterdam city motto The red light district has skanks for every taste

If you want to tour the district, AVOID the tours recommended in the major hotels, we found them to be over-priced rip-offs.  We hear that “Randy Roy’s” has the best whore tours.
 

Amsterdam Coffee Houses

There is also the super-liberal social segment within Amsterdam.  After seeing some of the local the skanks from a red light district tour, we got a tour of the coffee houses where sales of Marijuana is “tolerated”.  It's not legal to posses Marijuana in the Netherlands, and the Dutch are a very "rule-oriented" society with strict rules that must be obeyed at all times.

 

Hippies lover Amsterdam!

 

While Marijuana remains illegal, you would never guess from the coffee houses, where they sell pot in packs, just like cigarettes.  It’s sold either loose of in pre-rolled packs like cigarettes:

A pack of Marijuana from Amsterdam The Bulldog coffee house

We had a genuine hippie giving the tour, and he explained how the local coffee houses have strict smoking rules for both pot and tobacco!

Machine-generated Marijuana cigarettes Name-brand joints!


No Smoking in the Pot House!

God help you of you try to light a cigarette in a coffee house.  Smoking tobacco is considered “vile”!  Here is the sign in a coffee house, warning customers to only smoke pot, no cigarettes, please:



Sign in a pot smoking shop in Amsterdam

Janet and I even witnessed a women being chastised for polluting the dense pot smoke with tobacco, the ultimate irony, given that second-hand pot smoke is a leading cause of Hippies.

Amsterdam foods

I love fusion cuisines, the more stranger the better, Swiss-Swahili, German-Ghana, you name it, but none is stranger and more wonderful than the Javanese-Holland fusion food!

In the early days of WWII (the spring of 1942) when the Japanese invaders were chasing the 5th air force across Indonesia, the American airmen landed in Java, a picturesque spot where the war had not yet reached.

My father told me the tale of how, after half starving in the jungles, they got to Java where they had real stores and wonderful restaurants, and even telephones! (a three minute telephone call cost over $30, more than a month’s pay, but they were able to call home). All this normalcy, right in the shadow of an imminent Japanese invasion!

One Dutch delicacy in Java is the reistaffel, a multi-course fusion cuisine of Asian and Dutch influences.


An Amsterdam reistaffel

Half starved and under 150 pounds, my father raved about how delicious reistaffel was; a welcome alternative to their diet of bananas and monkeys . . .

When Janet and I were visiting friends in Amsterdam recently, we made sure that we tried this wonderful fusion dish. It takes hours to eat a reistaffel, up to 15 tiny tasting courses, one after the other, each an amazing fusion of Dutch and Javanese spices.

To learn more about the amazing heroes who defended Java against the Japanese, see the fascinating book “Queens Die Proudly”.

 

 

Amsterdam - The bicycle city

Amsterdam has more bikes than any other city in the world except for Beijing.

 

   
   
 
   
   
   
   

 


 

Also, Amsterdam has many cultural events, something for everyone, like this tattoo convention:




Amsterdam Canals

 

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Dining in Amsterdam

 

 

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Amsterdam:

 

AVOID theater red light district - Pickpockets are rampant.  "We were harassed by dealers pushing hard drugs who turned mean and continued to follow us when we told them we weren't interested. Also saw other people being followed by obvious pickpockets. Dangerous and waste of time."

 

Common Danish Phrases

I'll have  . .  - Jeg vil gerne have ...

Thank you - Tak skal du have

Do you speak English? - Kan De tale engelsk?

I don't speak Dutch -

Check out the cans on that babe -

I don't understand! - Det forstår jeg ikke

Where is . . ? -

How much is it? - Hvor meget koster

Sorry -

 

Common Dutch phrases:

I'll have  . .  - Ik wil graag ..
It’s delicious - Het is heerlijk!

Do you speak English? - Spreekt u Engels?

I don't speak Dutch - Ik spreek geen Nederlands

I don't understand! - Ik begrijp het niet

Where is . . ? - Waar is ..?

How much is it? - Hoeveel kost het?

Sorry - Sorry

Thank you - dank je wel


 

 

Restaurants:

 

  • De Bakkerswinkel - great breakfast - bakery goodies - scones & clotted cream!

  • Ciel Bleu Bar -  +31 (0)20 678 74 50  www.cielbleu.nl

Sights:

  • Noordermarkt Flea Market

  • Groningen

  • Van Gogh Museum

  • Mike's Bike Tours - phone # 0031-20-622-7970

  • Randy Roy's Redlight Tour - Meets in front of Victoria Hotel
    Across from Central Station Amsterdam - +31(0)641853288

  • Best coffeeshop is the GreenHouse, located near the Dam right next door to the Grand Hotel.  Also see "Tweede Kramer" and "Media club".

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Riding the rails in the Netherlands

 

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Gourmet food

Specially trained chefs

   

The dining car

 

 


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Amsterdam Architecture notes

 

 

   
   
   
   
   

 

 

 










 

 

 

Rembrandt House

 

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Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

Suggestions?  We are always seeking new tips for the professional at leisure, and any suggestions would be most welcome.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback. 

Copyright © 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.