Have you ever had a preconceived idea about a person or a place? How about this… have you ever met a famous person and they were the complete opposite of how you thought that they might actually be in person? I always heard people say that they met someone famous and that famous person turned out to be a complete jerk and you could tell how disappointed they were as they spoke of them.
For as long as I can remember I have only heard about Amsterdam as being a city known for legally selling weed and prostitution. My perception was that Amsterdam was full of sinners and hell was just one last breath away. I imagined people smoking weed across the city with every other breath that I took. Men and women were openly having sex on street corners. Mothers had to cover their children’s eyes to block them from the lawlessness that was taking place in front of them. Drunks roamed the streets intoxicated from the Dutch beer.
I was so wrong.
Amsterdam is a beautiful charming city.
It was started in about 1204. You can clearly see the history of the buildings. Most of these buildings are leaning about a few feet from how they were originally built. But that doesn’t stop people from living in them or as I learned while I toured the Sex Museum and started leaning as I got closer to the windows of the building. The canals are used as a place to have a boat as a home and serve as another way to see the city. The streets are built with cobblestone and make for an interesting bike ride. Speaking of bikes… I have never seen so many bicycles in my life. Everyone rides a bike here. There are walking lanes, bike lanes, and traffic lanes in this city.
The legalization of weed and prostitution is highly regulated. They have built-in security for the ladies who work in the Red Light District. If they feel unsafe, they can push a button as you would see in a bank that will notify the police. Weed can only be purchased in coffee shops. There are other shops around the city that say they sell weed products but you have to be careful because the packaging will say, “Not For Human Consumption.”
Amsterdam is a charming city. It is a mixture of the old and the new. Their transit system is A-1 and probably the best I have ever seen. The city is clean and the people are nice. I learned a very important idea while we were on a tour of the canals. Tolerance vs. Acceptance and how they use this in Amsterdam. The people here mostly don’t accept the prostitution and the weed businesses but they are tolerant of both because of the greater good it serves them all. They understand that for this city to make it that must be tolerant if the city is going to thrive.
Overall, I will be back one day. I enjoyed the city and the people.