Tell someone you’re going to Amsterdam, and you’ll be met with a chuckle and a knowing smile.
Yes, everyone will think you’re going for the hookers and weed, but there’s much more to Amsterdam. The Netherlands’s permissive attitudes are the product of a long history of liberalism and tolerance that dates back far before the advent of drug tourism and prostitutes’ unions. A refuge for Protestants and Jews in the 16th and 17th centuries, Amsterdam earned tremendous wealth as the center of a trading empire that stretched from the New York (sorry: New Amsterdam) to Indonesia. The city’s wealth served as an incubator for the artistic achievements of the Dutch Golden Age and the economic and political birth of modern Europe. Today, Amsterdam is a diverse and progressive city as famous for its art museums and quaint canal-side cafes as for its coffeeshops and prostitution.
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The Amsterdam Top 5
The heart of the museum is the second-floor gallery of art from the Dutch Golden Age.
Don’t miss the intricate organ case designed by Jacob van Campen, architect of the Koninklijk Palace.
A calm square lined with cafes and bars, making it one of the best places in the city for relaxed people watching.
Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh only painted for about a decade, but he left behind a remarkable legacy of paintings and drawings, as well as his left ear.
Whether you come for the art, music, or the sanctuary, tread lightly—you’re walking on 35 generations of Amsterdam’s dead.
About thirty feet away to my right is the big window opening onto the Schiphol Airport runway, which in the receding hours of the day is being misted upon. The pretty view is being ignored by a man, who, too old to retain full Partybr0 licensing and rights and yet still with the requisite orange Nike Miami Dolphins tee, adjacent phalanx of downed Heinekens, and sunglasses suspended, hazardously, above a confusingly co-orange forehead, to suggest his days of wholly exalted Partybr0dom aren’t, in his mind at least, too far gone, is giving a tentative middle finger, for seconds and seconds, […]
A few nights ago I was at one of the stranger concerts of my handsome young life: Modest Mouse, who since around the time I was born have been yelling about cockroaches and the Devil and stuff, and are somehow still at it, on a Friday night in Utrecht, half an hour south of Amsterdam as the train, my ticket for which no one ever checked and therefore I’m a little annoyed I paid like €15 for (rule for converting Euro to Dollar: take the numeral of whatever you were gonna pay in Euro, then imagine Obama’s neofascist regime has […]
As near as I can tell, typing from within the second-story window of my mom’s friends’ flat while the first rain/lightning/thunder combo in recent memory goes on outside, Amsterdam has been a blast. Beyond the itinerary—two humid days of writing from the bottom bunk, a couple more exploring with wonderful travelers from Baltimore and Austin, and the long-foretold reemergence of Beloved Harvard Roommate, with a cluster of siblings and hangers-on in tow (major goal for this part of the trip: not to come off as the Seth Rogenesque “my brother’s/friend’s brother’s college roommate” character—for whatever reason, harder than it sounds)—the […]
Yesterday, I dropped off British Friend’s guitar with his dad down in Richmond, who brewed English tea in his backyard garden and bade me a very sweet goodbye before I hopped on a train and then another train, and then one more at King’s Cross/St. Pancras which took me at last away from London. The original trainride, from Gatwick airport to Victoria station six weeks ago, is now a somewhat-remembered, dimly-felt parabola—I remember looking through the window into the countryside I knew I’d know, then the suburbs, and the interior of the city, the slow curve of people winding up, […]