The symbol of Amsterdam is the triple X, which seems fitting when you start to delve beneath the surface of Netherland’s capital.
Amsterdam is pretty ingrained in our minds whether we have been there or not. The Dutch city brings up images of canals, tulips, and bicycles. But Amsterdam has its more…ahem…liberal side, gaining it a reputation as the worlds most liberal city.
Here is our list of some of the more ‘eye opening’ things to see and do in the dam. Warning some are not for the faint hearted…
1. An evening at…Sexmuseum Amsterdam
Opening in 1985, the Sexmuseum Amsterdam is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. As you might have guessed the museum houses a collection of artifacts and info all about…well sex.
The museum is populated by some hilarious automated mannequins (looking something like a creepy laughing policeman on an Edwardian peer). Residents include a farting flasher in a trench coat and a boil encrusted prostitute who tries to grab you as you walk by.
If it’s always been your dream to sit between two giant penises while being fisted by a robotic chair then this is the place for you.
It’s a lot of fun, if not disturbing at times, but much more of a laugh than the Erotic Museum found in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
2. A stroll around…Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
The image of prostitutes is almost as synonymous with Amsterdam as canals, and an evening stroll around the city’s world famous Red Light District is something to behold.
For those of you from countries with a slightly more conservative attitude towards sex, the RLD will come as quite a shock.
Girls pay to rent a window along the canal and down the medieval side streets in De Wallen just Southeast of Centraal Station and beckon to passing men whilst wearing very little. The area is a circus of vice and, believe it or not, feels a fraction less seedy when visited at night.
Word of warning – have some respect and don’t try to take pictures of the girls. If you do get happy snappy your camera WILL end up in the canal.
Take a stroll down Blood Street (So named because every time there was an execution in the nearby Nieuwmarkt the street would receive a blood bath.) or Barndesteeg alley which runs parallel, and you will notice the red lights in the shop windows are instead blue. This is because the girls behind the windows are…how to put this?…Packing a penis.
3. An afternoon in…Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops
One thing you notice when walking around the city is the presence of a semi-permanent sickly sweet aroma. It seems like everyone is smoking the ‘green stuff’ in Amsterdam, and the city has certainly become infamous for it.
Technically drugs are illegal in the Netherlands, but law enforcers operate a ‘tolerance policy’ when it comes to soft drugs, and you are only supposed to smoke weed in Coffeeshops.
Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops (not to be confused with the Latte serving Coffee Shops or Cafes) specialise in selling marijuana from a menu and number around 250 across the city, mainly concentrated around the Red Light District of Amsterdam.
They vary in atmosphere and quality – some are small and psychedelic, some dark and seedy, some are tourist traps and some hyper cool hipster hangouts. They are not just for smoking, they are social places with lots of friends meeting and hanging out. Spend an afternoon in one and you’re sure to feel
Spend an afternoon in one and you’re sure to feel extreme chill.
4. Take in a…Sex Show
Sticking around Amsterdam’s RLD you’ll see lots of neon signs for sex shows. These vary from the funny and titillating to the full on voyeuristic.
Some of the most well-known spots are Casa Roso, a kind of cabaret night where you can witness daring feats of dexterity involving lady bits and live sex; Moulin Rouge where acts tend to center around props, and the fourth wall between performer and audience can be a little thin; and Bannanenbar, famous for things done unto a Banana.
There is also Amsterdam’s last ever ‘traditional’ peep show called Sex Palace where for two euros you can have your own seedy private booth and watch all manner of sex related acts.
5. Stop off at…the Condomerie
Want some novelty packaging for your junk? Stop off at the Condomerie in, you’ve guessed it, the Red Light District.
They are the worlds first condom specialty shop and a glance in their window is proof that they have thought of every condom imaginable. An Eiffel Tower Jonny anyone?
These rubber experts are well worth a visit for the giggles.
As the Condomerie’s slogan says “Always keep a rubber on hand”…however we’d advise it’s best placed elsewhere for maximum effectiveness.
6. Get an education at…The Cannabis College
This is the place to go if you want to learn everything there is to know about weed.
The Cannabis College has one mission since its opening in 1988, to provide accurate and unbiased information about the Cannabis plant.
Here you will learn about legislation across the world and the history of human consumption of the drug.
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