Videos or posts on social networks can give us a biased impression about cities we haven’t visited yet... But there’s really only one way to find out if any of it is true. By taking a look for yourself! Take Amsterdam for instance, the Dutch capital is seen as a haven for cannabis-smoking holidaymakers and large groups of Chinese tourists paying a visit to ‘women of the night’. But is there a hint of truth to all this? We break down 3 misconceptions about Amsterdam below, the rest you’ll have to find out during a visit!
As with any major city, Amsterdam also bears many misconceptions that are not always true. This article takes 3 of the most common for a closer look.
1. The centre is flooded with tourists
Amsterdam’s popularity among tourists has increased dramatically in recent years, the majority visiting the city for a weekend break. These are on average the busiest days of week. One tip is to visit Amsterdam during weekdays and another is to broaden your range to outside the inner city. Amsterdam has much more to offer off the beaten path! Explore the area to the west of the city centre, the Jordaan. Numerous boutiques and shops are scattered throughout the district including cosy cafés to unwind together with the locals. Keep the Westerstraat (and its side streets) especially in mind as there’s a heap to discover here.
2. The Wallen are filled with prostitutes
The Wallen (red light district) has a notorious reputation. Sailors predominantly came here in the past when the area was mostly crammed with pubs and women whose services involve pleasures of the night. It was also a hub for Chinese immigrants, which later developed into Amsterdam’s very own China Town. The neighbourhood has however inevitably changed over time. Next to the red lights, there is a huge variety of boutiques and the locale is now buzzing with positive energy. The Koko Coffee & Design café for example is situated on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. A great spot to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee and score trendy fashion from Dutch and Scandinavian brands. At Oriental City you can enjoy some of the best dim sum in town for a well deserved lunch break.
3. Everyone is constantly stoned
Soft drugs are tolerated in the Netherlands, which is of course a reason for tourists to visit Amsterdam in the first place. It doesn’t mean however that everyone is constantly stoned! The ‘coffee shops’ downtown are frequented mostly by tourists as opposed to Amsterdam locals. When the weather deems fit, avoid Vondelpark and head to Oosterpark, Sarphatipark or Westerpark instead. Less crowded, less red-eyed inebriated tourists and a better chance to chill out like an ‘Amsterdammer’!