A Weekend in Amsterdam That I Will Never Forget
So we have all heard that Amsterdam is the “highest” city on earth, though geographically it sits below the sea level. So how is Amsterdam so high? Well, in here, you can smoke weed all you want, go to as many pub crawls as you can, spend half an hour or so with a prostitute, or party all night long and get wasted. This city sets its citizens and visitors free, so you can do things that are considered illegal in your country. Amsterdam’s policy towards drug and prostitution attracts millions of visitors every year. Visitors come here to seek escape from their restraining society, or to simply fulfill their curiosity about this city of “vice and lust.” But rather than coming here just for the superficial temporary escape from reality, I came to Amsterdam to find the old European feeling. Exactly like how the city was filmed in The Fault in Our Stars.
Amsterdam’s boats, canals, bikes, etc., leave an impression on its visitors. As I heard from my walking tour guide, there are more bikes than people in Amsterdam, which means many people have more than one bikes. As I can see, many people in Amsterdam are very young. Maybe the city is too vibrant for elders. Amsterdam is a fashion show. Young guys and girls ride their bikes through the streets and the bridges in their chic outfit. Wind blows up their trench coats and the brown leaves on the ground. Smokers sit along the canal cheering to the people on the white boats that slowly sail through the bridge. It’s a scene that you wish you can take part in.
On the first day, I took a slow walk around Jordaan and took some photos of the canals. Walking is the best way to visit Amsterdam as biking might require some skill. When you are tired, feel free to sit along the canals; staring at the artistic buildings is the best thing to do in Amsterdam.
Gay marriage, prostitutes, legalizing marijuana, Amsterdam is always ahead of the game. It doesn’t mean that these things are good, but it means that we should all face the reality and the existence of such; There isn’t one city without gay people, prostitutes and the use of marijuana. By legalizing, Amsterdam is giving their people freedom and security. With laws to regulate the sale of marijuana and the working prostitutes, it closes the black market sale of marijuana, and prostitutes no longer need to work under dangerous environment. Coffee shops that sell marijuana and the Red Light District can be regulated more easily. As the people in Amsterdam foresee, whatever the Netherlands does, the whole world just follows. This is not made up; it is a true history being repeated many times.
Imagine Amsterdam to be without weed, prostitutes, and its acceptance toward others, will amsterdam still be beautiful? I think that Amsterdam can still be beautiful considering its irreplaceable heritage and culture. Its position and history during WWII is so unique. During my visit to the Anne Frank Huis, I learned the past and present of Amsterdam. It is the land of freedom and security where many people seek to come for. It is the history, the heritage, and the culture that made Amsterdam what it is today.
After a night of pub crawl with my Airbnb host family, I joined a free walking tour the next day. We started in Dam Square, which isn’t really the most beautiful square I have seen. The Royal Palace and the National Monument is located in the square.
I was lucky enough to see the Amsterdam Sail, which takes place once every five years. I didn’t know in advance though.
During Sail, big boats and the marines from all around the world sail to Amsterdam’s harbour for a five-day fête. Some boats are open for people to visit, and some invite its private guests. All the boats, no matter big or small, have their own party on board. Unfortunately, I missed the fireworks, but the festival along the harbour lasted until the morning. It was the most festive scene I have ever seen.
On the last day, I paid a visit to Brouwerij ‘t IJ, which is the famous windmill brewery in Amsterdam. I took a bus there, which only took around 20 minutes. It is very worth buying a 24 hour bus pass in Amsterdam for it’s only 7.50 euro.
I am confident that the Netherlands will become more and more beautiful with its rich art heritage and culture. It is amazing having the chance to be exposed to the European culture, especially when I grew up in America where there isn’t a long history.