To put it simply, when Americans think of Amsterdam, we think of booze, drugs, sex, degeneracy, and the Red Light District. It is the “Vegas” of Europe.
Sorry to burst that fantasized bubble, but Amsterdam is not like this at all. In fact, it’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve been, too. Besides the thousands of highly dangerous and aggressive bikes whizzing by, the city itself feels like a beautiful, small town. It is so friendly and colorful, and there are people from all over the world who live there. It’s a giant melting pot of culture.
Amsterdam is so chill, though, that the nightlife barely exists, too. Finding a good club in Amsterdam is harder than finding a needle in a hay stack. They all close at the latest 2 am, some even 1 am, and when you are traveling from Barcelona, where the clubs don’t close until 6 am, it’s a bit of a shock.
Although we went to the Ice Bar which was really fun, it wasn’t a true place where you would find locals hanging out. It was a tourist trap, but hey, I’m a tourist and I had a good time! I’m happy we did it because it was such a fun experience, but it was definitely not where you were going to find locals. Honestly, probably because it was deceptively freezing inside, the glasses were made of ice, and I was shivering after 10 minutes.
Instead, they hang out at the bars, early, and socially drink after work. Christine and I stumbled upon a bumping bar that was bumping with locals and 20-30 year olds around 6 pm. Celebrating happy hour the good ol’ fashion way, the bar was called Café Hoppe. With good music and fun vibes, the bar kind of represented what Amsterdam was.
It was relaxed, everyone was drinking a beer, and everyone was so casual.
In addition to being such a tranquil city, the Dutch people are healthy, too, and take care of themselves. It is a very “veggie” inspired city. Obviously there’s more food than just vegan or vegetarian in Amsterdam, but all restaurants and cafés cater to those preferences.
Even with these vegetarian and dietary preferences, the food in Amsterdam is incredible, too! Especially the Dutch Pancakes… If you want to indulge in the best pancakes, head over to The Pancake Bakery and order some traditional Dutch styled pancakes – savory or sweet, your choice! 😉
Order up some coffee, pancakes, stoopwafels, or poffertjes for a delicious treat! Plus, right behind Spain, I believe Amsterdam has the next best coffee… and from me, that is saying a lot.
Because of this, I’m here to put it to rest. Amsterdam, I’m sorry on behalf of all Americans for making you out to be the sinful city of the world. Although weed is legal in Amsterdam, I was talking to some locals. They couldn’t deny that they also smoke, but with a few laughs and hesitations, they finally admitted it’s only the tourists that you find absolutely baked and smoking on the streets.
The Dutch and locals don’t blame them. It is, after all, legal here, but it’s interesting how Amsterdam has such a reputation that doesn’t even really fit them.
Keep doing you, Amsterdam. You’re doing it right.