If there’s one holiday destination that everyone’s going to these days, it’s Amsterdam. Holland’s capital is the dream spot for those in their early 20s and there are a lot of reasons why. The key one is the legalised weed, but hey, there’s more than that. Not everyone wants to get toked up, there’s very few of us but we exist and want more than freshly cut grass if you know what I’m saying. Hell, even the drinking over there lacks a bit, most places didn’t even know what cider was and only had one tap labelled “Beer”. So, if you’re not high or drunk you’ve got to entertain yourself somehow. Here’s five things Amsterdam can offer you should you visit, which you totally should.
Not one to be understated, the actual city of Amsterdam is gorgeous. The architecture of the buildings is unique, the canals are lovely, if a little greener than I’d like, there’s next to no litter on the streets and it’s easy to get around with trams and bikes. Speaking of bikes, your cool friend that’s been to the Dam four times isn’t lying. THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE. The sight of the bike lock up coming out of central station is damn well jaw-dropping. And these guys own the road. If you’re in their way, they won’t slow down or go around you, you’ll get a bell ring and if you’ve not moved yet, you’re getting run over, simple as. Pretty dangerous considering not one of them have a helmet. Aside from the rogue cyclists the locals were all lovely from my experience. Everyone’s helpful and friendly and gives the city a very welcoming feel. Be they locals on the street, waiters, cashiers, everyone’s delightful. I’d highly recommend doing a canal tour or two to just sit back and leisurely drift around the town, It’s very relaxing.
Given the great weather Amsterdam gets, a day in the sun soaking in the rays should be on the to-do list between seeing the sights. Amsterdam is littered with parks, all clean with plenty of open space particularly the Vondelpark and outside the Van Gough museum. Luscious grass and the odd fountain or pond make it ideal lounging material. A big plus to the parks for us Irish is that it’s totally legal to drink in them. Head on down and crack open some cold ones with boys and set your social media on fire.
Amsterdam is rich with fascinating museums. There’s so many to see you probably won’t get to all of them but the ones you do get to will be worth it. I recommend getting the ‘I Amsterdam’ card for free/discounted entry into most museums, so even if you don’t end up liking it you at least didn’t waste any money. Those cards will pay for themselves. I’d recommend the Van Gough museum, Maritime Museum, the Microbia and the NEMO Science Museum. Plus the ones I didn’t get around to see but wanted to check out like the Sex Museum, Museum of Prostitution, and the Anne Frank Museum. They may seem artsy and boring but go in the right mindset and it’s a lot of fun. Or do what my friends did and just get super high and then go. They had the time of their life in the Van Gough. The zoo comes highly recommended too, it’s lovely, easy to spend a day in and comes with an aquarium and planetarium. Seriously don’t skip it, it’s a great ramble.
The Night Life:
Start off your night with a little diner in one of the millions of restaurants on offer. To pick one it would have to be one of the seemingly endless number of Argentinian Steakhouse’s because oh my god the steak will reduce you to tears. Hands down the best steak and possibly any meat I’ve ever eaten. Afterwards go to one of the many pubs on offer, shout out to the Ice Bar just for the aesthetic. Book your tickets in advance and don’t miss out like I did. If you’re stuck for cash though and just wants a few drinks in your room or the park, shops are cheap, I got a 6 pack of Orchard Thieves (or Apple Bandit) for €4.20 (WAHEY). Most places don’t serve cider or don’t even know what it is. Some only had one tap labelled beer so your options are limited for in pub drinks if you’re picky like I am.
Night clubs as well are top quality. You won’t get in with a big enough bag cause of tight security so be wary of that, but heck it’s for safety so fair enough. The one I went to was called The Sugar Factory and speaking as a man who’s grown tired of night clubs and just sways his hips awkwardly, wondering why the music must be so loud and how the youngun’s running around can have so much energy at this hour. But this was one of the best night clubs I’ve ever been to. The music was great, plenty of space so it was possible to move without bulldozing through people, enough lights without being seizure inducing, and a comfy smoking area with nice staff. It comes recommended for one of the best night club experiences I’ve ever had.
And of course, let’s not skip over, the red-light district. You kind of have to go there and see it for yourself. The openness of the X-rated content on display is mind-blowing. Seeing kids enjoying a meal with their families only to then turn a corner and see a woman in a lingerie tapping on a window asking if you want to share some private time for the low, low price of €50. Sex shows are expensive to which a friend of mine quoted “Why pay twice as much to see it when you can go next door and do it yourself for less?”. They were later mugged by a prostitute and basically threatened by her pimp, so don’t get cocky and look out for a mate who’s going for a strip down salsa dance.
You’ll Want To Go Back:
Whether I’ve conveyed it here or not, Amsterdam has a baffling amount on offer for whatever form of holiday you’re looking for. You won’t see it all in one trip, but that just gives you more reason to head back again. You’ll fall for the city very quickly and once you do you’ll be set on returning. Don’t try to see everything because that’ll just stress and tire you out. Take your time, drink it in, then head back in a year or so and do it again but with all new stuff.