Like the commercial says, Amsterdam is a “dam” good city. But there’s a few mistakes you can make that will ruin your trip. Now I’m no expert on the Dutch penal code, but I’ve picked up a few tips while I was there that will make your trip a little less hazardous and a lot more memorable. Here they are:
1. Don’t buy drugs from anyone in the streets, especially in the Red-light district at night. There are a few reasons for this, the first of which is really common sense. You have no idea who’s selling it to you, and you have no idea what it’s laced with. Second, while smoking marijuana is “tolerated” in coffee shops, sale of it on the streets is illegal. Cops are pretty lax, but they do have the power to arrest you if they feel like it.
2. Don’t take pictures of the girls in the Red-light district. I don’t know the legality of it, but I know they don’t take very kindly to tourists snapping shots of them in their underwear. It’s not like they can’t open the glass doors/ windows and come after you, and possibly yell at you (I saw it happen first hand). Everyone wants to bring back memories, but it’s not worth being harassed by a prostitute (for some of you, maybe it is). If you’re really desperate to take pictures, do it from afar.
3. Don’t ignore the advice of the staff at the coffee shops. Most places have a full menu of amenities to choose from, and I guarantee you don’t know what they all are. It’s a well known fact that the weed in Amsterdam is extremely strong, so if you don’t know what you’re smoking, there’s a good chance you’ll get hit hard. The staff knows what they’re doing, and they have no reason to mess with you, so take their advice and use it wisely.
4. Don’t try to bring your own drugs, especially hard drugs, into coffee shops. I don’t think it’s illegal to bring in your own drugs, but you wouldn’t bring your own beer to a bar, and I would assume it’s the same with marijuana. The Netherlands makes a distinction between hard and soft drugs, meaning the only drugs that are tolerated are marijuana and hash. Shop owners appreciate the fact that they can sell marijuana, and don’t want their shop disrupted because someone decided to bring in LSD.
5. Don’t smoke so much that you can’t remember your trip. I guess this is actually a matter of preference. Maybe you want to sit in a coffee shop high out of your mind for your entire trip, but for those who actually want to visit the sites and remember what they saw, pay attention to how much you smoke. Like I said, the marijuana in Amsterdam is very strong, so if you smoke too much, you’ll be done for the day. Things like the Heineken factory cost close to $20 to see, and if you’re too gone to remember it, or to take advantage of the free beer at the end, then you’ve really just wasted 20 bucks.
Again, I’m not an expert on any of this – I was only there for a weekend. But I would put money down that most of this post is pretty accurate . If anyone wants to correct any of these points, or to add some more, feel free to comment.