jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 88 [27 Apr 09] – Amsterdam

Posted in Amsterdam by jn82 on April 27, 2009

We got on the overnight City Night Line 456 sleeper from Prague to Amsterdam last night, and occupied two beds in a four bed couchette compartment. The four bed couchettes are quite spacious, and there is enough space to sit up and read or watch stuff on the laptop in “bed”, so travelling in them has been fine so far, this being the third overnight train in a four bed couchette (Lisbon – Madrid and Rome – Geneva being the other two). From Amsterdam to Copenhagen, we will also be in a overnight sleeper, however this time there was only free space in a six bed couchette, so things are going to get much more cramped.

After a pretty good night of rest, we got into Amsterdam just before 11am, and headed to the hostel to dump our bags. We decided to do the New Europe Tours free walking tour in this city as well, so had a quick lunch before heading to the meeting point at 1pm. The weather was pretty bad, it drizzed on and off and the skies were perpetually grey, so I could not be bothered to take many pictures.

The tour guide is a pretty informative guy, and he told us how the ultra-conservative Christian politicians (with the support of the rest of the country) were aiming to eliminate or drastically reduce Amsterdam’s red light district by 2015. As it stands, from over 2,000+ “shop windows” with girls in them a couple of years ago, there are only 458 now, with that number shrinking every quarter, due to such shop properties being purchased by the government and earmarked for redevelopment. It looks like the government is pretty serious about reducing the amount of “in your face” legalised prostitution, however the future of escort services and brothels is unclear.

On the other side, there is the European Union, which is quite bent on reducing the “legalised” use of marijuana within Amsterdam, so the number of “coffee shops” in the city which sell and serve marijuana are also getting reduced at an exponential rate over time. The guide says that by 2010 or 2011, such “coffee shops” which have existed for many years may no longer exist. This is all pretty interesting because prior to this, the impression I had was that such vice activity was accepted and tolerated by the Dutch people, but it seems only 10% of the population actually really accept such behaviour, while the other 90% are against it.

The walking tour was pretty normal, and we saw some of the important buildings such as the Anne Franke Museum and the royal palace. The differenciating factor when walking around the city centre is because there are over 90 bridges of varying lengths and widths which span over the various canels going through the city.

City with many canals.

Hemp Gallery. There is also a Hemp Museum, Hemp College… etc etc.

Dutch piss deflector.

Former HQ of the Dutch East Indies Company, now a University of Amsterdam building.

The narrowest house in The Netherlands.

We headed back to the hostel after the walking tour ended around 5pm, intending to take a short rest and then do a walking tour of the red light district around 6.45pm with New Europe Tours as well. However, I was very tired after taking a short break, so will only do the tour tomorrow night.

Today’s pictures here.

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