Amsterdam Holland travel tips
Independent travel tips for the professional at Leisure
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
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
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
By Dutch cartoonist DeWitt of “Sigmund”
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”
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 . . ).
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
coffee houses, where they sell pot in packs, just like cigarettes. It’s sold either loose of in pre-rolled packs like
|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
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.
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!
delicacy in Java is the reistaffel, a multi-course fusion cuisine of Asian and
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
Amsterdam - The bicycle city
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:
Dining in 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
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
Noordermarkt Flea Market
Van Gogh Museum
Mike's Bike Tours -
phone # 0031-20-622-7970
Randy Roy's Redlight Tour - Meets in front of
Across from Central Station Amsterdam - +31(0)641853288
coffeeshop is the
GreenHouse, located near the Dam
right next door to the Grand Hotel. Also see "Tweede Kramer" and
Riding the rails in the Netherlands
Specially trained chefs
The dining car
Amsterdam Architecture notes